Dept of Good and Evil
Gig Seeker Pro

Dept of Good and Evil

| MAJOR | AFM

| MAJOR | AFM
Band Jazz Jam

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Washington Post 5/6/2007 Mike Joyce review
DEPT. OF GOOD AND EVIL FEATURING RACHEL Z
"Dept. of Good and Evil Featuring Rachel Z"
Savoy Jazz

Friday, April 6, 2007

DON'T LET THE NAME of the band (and the title of its eponymous CD) fool you. Dept. of Good and Evil may sound like a departure for keyboardist Rachel Z, but it's really a compelling addition to her recent solo CDs, Goth influences notwithstanding.

Given the emphasis on ensemble textures and grooves, it makes sense that Z (nee Rachel Nicolazzo) shares the credit for this album with her trio mates -- drummer-producer Bobbie Rae and the young Annapolis-bred bassist Maeve Royce -- and session collaborators -- Erik Naslund on trumpet and Tony Levin on electric bass and Chapman Stick. But Z's "featured" billing here doesn't mean her role has diminished.

If anything, she seems more willing than ever to display the range of her piano influences, radiating from the core sounds of Herbie
Hancock and McCoy Tyner. It's a tack that helps freshen a curious collection of tunes that includes Sting's "King of Pain," Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body," Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," Bill Withers's "Ain't No Sunshine," Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" and Wayne Shorter's "ESP." Though the pianist views herself as the "evil one" in this new setting, serving as a dark foil to the rhythm section's vibrant drive, her improvisations are often so harmonically rich and multifaceted that "Dept. of Good and Intriguing" ultimately seems like a more apt billing. -- Mike Joyce

Appearing Thursday at Blues Alley.

Listen to an audio clip of Dept. of Good and Evil featuring Rachel Z
washingtonpost.com - washington Post


Keyboard Magazine Review June 2007
KEYBOARD
June 2007

Dept. of Good and Evil featuring Rachel Z

Savoy, 2007


It takes both profound virtuosity and ample good taste to get away with jazz treatments of pop-chart staples. The inimitable Ms. Z - who's both sat at a piano for Wayne Shorter and stood behind a synth rack for Peter Gabriel - does a lot more than get away with it. She brilliantly excavates the harmonic complexity lurking in songs from Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" to "King of Pain" by The Police. Drummer Bobbie Rae's deft mixology of straight-ahead jazz, funk, and hip-hop is always just perfect, and fellow Gabriel veteran Tony Levin and up-and-coming bass prodigy Maeve Royce take turns laying the bass foundation for Rachel's burning piano solos, not to mention her sultry crooning on the original "Moon and Sun." If you're a jazz aficionado, this CD will give you newfound respect for rock songwriting. If you're not, it may well turn you into one. Essential listening.
keyboard magazine june 2007
- Keyboard Magazine


Jazz Pianist Covers Alice in Chains Pittburg Post-Gazette review
Short Takes: Rachel Z trio takes a versatile approach

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pianist Rachel Z has emerged from the shadows of Peter Gabriel to form one of the most innovative trios to come along in some time. Performing at Gullifty's Restaurant Saturday night, Z demonstrated how any song can be used as a launching pad for jazz dynamics.

Z has long been adept at bridging genres, and her group, Dept. of Good and Evil, continued that path Saturday night.

She paid homage to Sting on "King of Pain" and invited trumpeter Sean Jones to the stage to assist with Wayne Shorter's "ESP." Jones is a dynamo and worth the price of admission whenever he's playing.

The group then launched into Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and performed an unidentified tune from Depeche Mode. But the trio made its greatest impact on "Angry Chair," a song by Alice in Chains. How many jazz trios have that kind of repertory?
-- Nate Guidry, Post-Gazette jazz critic
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07142/787896-42.stm - Pittburg Post-Gazette review


goodsound.com 4 and 1/2 stars
May 1, 2007

Dept. of Good and Evil featuring Rachel Z: Dept. of Good and Evil
Savoy Jazz 17630

Format: CD
Musical Performance ****1/2
Sound Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

Pianist Rachel Z already has nine solo albums under her belt; this, her tenth, follows suit in its inventive compositions and arrangements while branching out in both name and substance. Dept. of Good and Evil is the name of the album as well as of Z's group. Most of these tracks are covers of "pop and Goth tunes," according to Z, and range from Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body" to Sting's "King of Pain." Albums mostly comprising covers tend to be trite and poorly done -- most songs' original versions are usually preferable to imitations, and albums of covers tend to drag on. Here, Z and her Dept. take only the most basic elements of any particular song, and build on them in a unique way, transforming rock and indie songs into symphony-like waves of sound. In fact, in many of these interpretations the originals are hardly recognizable. Z is an immensely talented pianist and composer (she wrote two of the album's three original tracks), and listening to her play is fascinating. Her arpeggios, chords, and passion are heard clearly, and her Fazioli piano's reputation for excellent sound is well deserved.Katherine Silkaitis
http://www.goodsound.com/music.shtml
- goodsound.com


Music Review: Department of Good and Evil Featuring Rachel Z
Written by Brad Chenowski
Published March 18, 2007

There’s a definite guilty pleasure to be had from eavesdropping on a lively, intelligent, and engaging conversation among intimates, which is the type of enjoyment that lies at the heart of the recently released self-titled CD, Department of Good and Evil featuring Rachel Z (Savoy Records, 2007).

Despite the title of the group and CD, the music is jazz, not metal, heavy or otherwise. The 12 tracks are based on the classic jazz trio format of piano (Rachel Nicolazzo, aka, Rachel Z), acoustic bass (Maeve Royce), and drums (Bobbie Rae), with added spice from appearances by Erik Naslund on trumpet and Tony Levin on electric bass and Chapman Stick. Don’t be put off by the word “jazz” or the phrase “classic jazz trio format”; the CD avoids the pitfalls often associated with those labels. This is forward -sounding music.

Yes, pitfalls, by which I mean an hour or so of piano-centric jazz trio music runs the risk of being nothing more than functional – suave martini-sipping background music based on predictable keyboard arpeggios and left hand comping under equally predictable modal tinkling; music that helps create a pleasant ambiance but fails to engage on its own merits. Department rises above the disposable because, instead of serving as a soundtrack for late night conversation, this album engages the listener by being the conversation – a significant discussion among seasoned, witty, insightful musicians who take various interesting topics and share opinions and possibilities. It’s a dialog that inspires attention.

The conversational style of the presentation helps the CD avoid another common pitfall, recording by numbers. The contemporary approach to recording music often leads to an assembly line approach – generic sounding drum and bass tracks with, if we’re lucky, the occasional frill and thrill, over which the pianist performs, which results in little, if any, interplay among the musicians. The result is an hour long monologue.

Throughout Department, the primary conversation is an ongoing dialog between pianist Rachel Z and drummer Bobbie Rae, a musical give and take, point-counterpoint, reminiscent of the live McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones recordings with Coltrane. The Z-Rae discussions are in the vein of Tyner-Jones, but without the Tyner-Jones exclamation marks and bold print. The Z-Rae approach is more subdued, more refined, more dependent upon content for significance than on Tyner-Jones style dynamics.

The flow of the musical conversation between Rachel Z and Bobbie Rae also has much to do with the acoustic bass of Maeve Royce. Her lines serve in a number of ways – she represents a moderator of sorts, sometimes keeping the conversation on track with her solid groove and sometimes pushing the inquiry down a new path. You’ll hear her both finish a thought and raise a question. Shades of Jimmy Garrison? Maybe, which says something about this bassist in her early 20s making her recording debut on this album.

So, having said that Department takes a conversational approach, the important questions become: what do these musicians have to talk about and why are their statements significant?

The topics on the table for musical discussion are, of course, the 12 songs that comprise the CD – three originals and nine covers. The melody notes and chord structure of each “song” represents the main topic for that piece. The improvisations and interplay that build on those topics are the discussion.

For example, the well known melody and chord structure of the third track, Sting’s “King of Pain” serve as the topic at hand, much the same as a group of well informed people might discuss the war in Iraq. As with jazz in general, the “song” serves as a starting point and an underlying point of reference. The topic having been stated, the musicians are then free to develop the conversation in ways they deem relevant – they expl
blogcritics.com - blogcritics.org


JAZZBEAT Pianist Covers the Spectrum from A to Z
By Kris Alavattam

Sunday, March 11, 2007
It's another interesting turn in the career of Rachel Z, the pianist who learned the ropes in Mike Mainieri's fusion outfit Steps Ahead, who played a pivotal role on Wayne Shorter's 1995 comeback High Life and backed Peter Gabriel on five world tours.

The Department of Good and Evil, her latest band, presents a gritty jazz vision of pop and alternative rock songs. It's an extension of Z's earlier efforts to rework music by artists such as U2, John Lennon, Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins and Joni Mitchell.

Speaking over the phone last week, the pianist said the group is primarily focused on "combining great music of all styles and making a statement that way."

"It's a statement that can unify all generations. We're hoping to expand jazz, get some kids into it and develop its future, while not abandoning, by any means, our older fans who really want to hear it swing."

In addition to Z, the Department includes bassist Maeve Royce and drummer Bobbi Rae. Auxiliary members include bassist Tony Levin and trumpeter Eric Naslund. The group's self-titled debut hits shelves Tuesday.

On Thursday, Z will headline a pair of local performances that will simultaneously serve as CD-release parties and as anniversary celebrations for Pacchia, the Oregon Historic District restaurant in its 12th year of business.
The first event will begin at 6 p.m., when the pianist joins Royce and Rae for a private concert at the home of Dr. Mike Ervin, 151 Brown St., in the Oregon District. A private dinner at Pacchia will follow at 7:30.

At 9, the trio will take the stage in the cafe portion of the venue for a show open to the public.

Born Rachel Nicolazzo in Manhattan, Z comes from a musical family. At the insistence of her opera singing mother, she began voice lessons at the age of 2. Piano lessons followed at age 7, regular trips to the opera at age 9.

She took the first steps in her current musical direction at 15, when she rebelled against her musically conservative upbringing and joined a band that covered music by Steely Dan and Mitchell. Exposure to the music of Herbie Hancock and Shorter ignited her passion for jazz.

As a result, her career track has followed a twisting and curving route, making her a player as comfortable swinging straight ahead as she is cutting a fusion groove, as likely to perform Gershwin as she is Cobain.
How to go

What: Pacchia 12th anniversary private dinner with Rachel Z and the Department of Good and Evil.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday.

Where: 151 Brown St., in the Oregon Historic District.

Cost: $100 plus tax and gratuity, by reservation only.

For more information: (937) 341-5050 or www.pacchia.com.

What: Pacchia 12th anniversary concert with Rachel Z and the Department of Good and Evil.

When: 9 p.m. Thursday.

Where: 410 E. Fifth St.

Cost: $20 in advance for table seatin
http://www.daytondailynews.com/e/content/oh/story/entertainment/music/2007/03/11/ddn031107lifejazzbeat.html?UrAuth=%2560NbNUObNWUbTTUWUXUVUZTZUaUWU%5E
- Kris Alavattam


Downbeat June 2007 3 and 1/2 stars
Rachel z has proven herself to be an exceptional acoustic pianist.Her new simpatico trio Dept of Good and Evil goes further in establishing our cred.Oddly enough,given her fondness for flash-Z never gives into simple pyrotechnics on the eponymous CD.
Z's touch on the keys is supple and dark,her melodic logic wonderfully coherent,and she improvises in long lush phrases that can surprise and captivate.Many moments of inspired vision fill the album such as the chordal melody of ESP, the introductory flurries of King of Pain(followed by chords that recall Don Grolbk's Pool's,the Herbie Hancockesque crunch of Love Will Tear us Apart,and the delicate flourishes of Lakme.
Z's pop inclination gives her performances purpose and appeal.The piano solos,ensemble sections,and arrangements are form-fitting and weighty. The album is certainly accessible ,from Z's generous flowing piano lines and sensous vocal tracks to the drumming of Bobbie Rae,who fills the music with perussive effects and R&B fired grooves.
Some may accuse RachelZ of populist goals,but rich melodies andengrossing trio performances silence the naysayers. -Ken Micalef
downbeat.com
- downbeat.com


Pittsburgh Citipaper Mike Shanley review
Mike Shanley
May 17,2007
Shaping pop songs to fit a jazz mold is a practice decades old. Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin were the contemporary pop writers of their days, and their songbooks became part of the jazz repertoire, as did songs from old musicals.
These tunes still sound good. But in a music like jazz that's based on new directions, it presents a musical cul de sac when the young bucks can't get beyond "My Funny Valentine" and "Stella by Starlight." In recent years, however, more jazz players have attempted give pop and rock a modern sense of swing. Most notably, The Bad Plus have brought Nirvana, Black Sabbath and the Pixies to the jazz table.
Pianist Rachel Z has similar ideas, with her trio The Department of Good and Evil, reinterpreting Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. The Department's latest, self-titled album recasts everyone from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Death Cab for Cutie, Joy Division and The Police in an acoustic setting. It's a bold set, yet it doesn't come off as novelty (the Plus' frequent stumbling block). Nor does it sanitize either the jazziness or the melodic quality of the originals.
When arranging the songs, Rachel Z and drummer Bobbie Rae put a lot of effort into the process. "It's not simply smashing two parts into each other -- section A from the pop tune, section B from the jazz tune," she says in a recent Downbeat article. "The song has to be pliable and contain enough melodic depth to inspire us to take it to other places when reworked."
For example, the Department pairs The Church's "Under the Milky Way" with hints of the expansive piano chords from "Blue in Green" -- the piece by pianist Bill Evans from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. Both pieces had a pensive mood, and the mash-up, if I dare call it that, works. Elsewhere, Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body" swings in 5/4, and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" stands side-by-side with Wayne Shorter's "ESP." And it all makes sense.
King Crimson's Tony Levin plays bass on a few of the tracks, but most of the time, that role is handled by 22-year-old Maeve Royce, who comes equipped with a set of chops and ideas well beyond her years. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but the Department of Good and Evil's album just might be the generation-gap bridge that brings open-minded young hipsters and their folks together.
The Department of Good and Evil, featuring Rachel Z. 9:30 p.m. Sat., May 19. Gullifty's, 1922 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. $15. 412-521-8222 o 17,2007
Pittsburgh Citipaper
- Pittsburgh Citipaper


Rachel Z and the Dept. of Good and Evil
_______________________________________________________

“Jazz is not dead!! It is alive and well and right here!!” That is the tagline emblazoned emphatically on a promotional flyer keyboardist Rachel Z and her record company Savoy Jazz cooked up to announce the release of her debut album for the label, “The Dept. of Good and Evil Featuring Rachel Z”, along with a hefty calendar listing of live U.S. dates through the summer of 2007.
And if Z’s ebullient words don’t grab your attention then her gothic angelic persona displayed on the handbill surely will. Adorned in black, accentuated with pasty white skin and purple eye shadow, the pianist exudes a look closer to late night horror TV host Elvira or Siouxsie Sioux of eighties alternative band The Banshees than a traditional jazz artist.
So what’s up with the maudlin get-up and what exactly is the “Dept. of Good and Evil” anyway? Many people who attended this year’s International Association for Jazz Educators convention in New York City this past January spotted Z’s announcement and asked the same questions.
“A lot of people were looking at the flyers wondering what to make of my band and my look,” said Z. “But I had to laugh because my friends who know me would see the humor in it right away and totally get it.”
Essentially the inside joke lies in Z’s penchant for layering dark chords and ominous 20th Century classical harmonies—dubbed playfully as the “evil” one by fellow musicians and associates—over the upbeat and swinging “good” grooves of her rhythm section.
The Dept. of Good and Evil, which also includes drummer/producer Bobbie Rae and bassist Maeve Royce, is a band on a mission. That mission is to spread their gospel of jazz, which is spiritual, motivational and conceptually open, to as many people as possible.
“We wanted to go with the Dept. of Good and Evil because the Rachel Z Trio implied only jazz and that scares the kids,” theorized Z with refreshing candor. “More kids find they might like this music if they give it a chance. I’ve had a lot of kids sign up to my Myspace page because they saw we did a cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division.”
“Our thing is to bridge the gap and celebrate all music and to attract people to jazz,” continued the committed keyboardist. “I’ve been at our gigs where there have been seventeen year olds sitting next to seventy year olds and they’re both digging the music. So when I mention a Death Cab for Cutie song both groups are digging it but for different reasons.”
The juxtaposition of modern pop or alternative rock with mainstream jazz might seem like heresy to some but it is as natural as slipping on a pair of well worn gloves to principle writers and arrangers Z and Rae.
This industrious group has been hitting the road, virtually non-stop, at signature venues across the U.S., delivering their doctrine of “music without prejudice” with the fervor of a well-oiled political campaign or religious caravan.
“It’s been great, however an average day has us driving six hours to get to the next town,” shared Z on the somewhat relentless tour agenda. “ We’ll usually get to the hotel and be there for a half hour, then drive to the club, set up, sound check, play the gig and then do it all over again the next day.”
Their tour, which started in early January with a showcase at the IAJE conference in New York, has been literally five years in the making. It has taken that long to fully develop and conceive their musical concept.
“It’s taken five years to build up to a point where we have a pretty good tour,” said the raven-haired pianist. “We’re getting good press and there’s people coming to the venues. Things are really starting to come together for the Dept. of Good and Evil.”
From the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Pacchia Jazz Café in Dayton, Ohio to Steamer’s in Fullerton, California and Yoshi’s in San Francisco, Z and company have traveled coast to coast connecting with hearts and minds along the way.
“We have a lot of support in the Midwest,” said Z. “When we played Dayton we had everyone there from twenty to eighty. The eighty year olds would tell me that music feeds their soul. An older couple came up to Bobbie and told him our show was a life changing experience.”
Audience reaction like this has been commonplace, giving credence and adding fuel to the fact that, perhaps, the public is ready for something legitimately fresh and different.
“ When we played in Louisville a young girl told me when she heard what we did with the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs’ song it made her understand what she needs to do with ‘All the Things You Are’,” explained Z. “ She said she understood what jazz is by hearing us.”
In effect that girl had a musical epiphany, not unlike a similar experience the - Downbeat


Pianist Rachel Z has emerged from the shadows of Peter Gabriel to form one of the most innovative trios to come along in some time.The trio made its greatest impact on "Angry Chair," a song by Alice in Chains. How many jazz trios have that kind of repertory?
THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE 03/23/2007
Jim Harrington
"ONE OF THE MOST interesting jazz releases to cross my desk in a long time is the Dept. of Good and Evil's new eponymous CD."
Musicaldiscoveries.com Feb.14,2007
5stars Russ Elliot-Editor in Chief
...AN ENCHANTING,HIGHLY CREATIVE TOUR DE FORCE by Dept of Good and Evil that pioneers new territory in modern jazz. ...Z's piano virtuosity is outstanding,passionate...a top notch CD that is a stunning
success...5stars!"
Blogcritics.com by Brad Chenowski
"Throughout Department, the primary conversation is an ongoing dialog between pianist Rachel Z and drummer Bobbie Rae, a musical give and take, point-counterpoint, reminiscent of the live McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones recordings with Coltrane. The Z-Rae discussions are in the vein of Tyner-Jones, but without the Tyner-Jones exclamation marks and bold print. The Z-Rae approach is more subdued, more refined, more dependent upon content for significance than on Tyner-Jones style dynamics.
The flow of the musical conversation between Rachel Z and Bobbie Rae also has much to do with the acoustic bass of Maeve Royce. Her lines serve in a number of ways – she represents a moderator of sorts, sometimes keeping the conversation on track with her solid groove and sometimes pushing the inquiry down a new path. You’ll hear her both finish a thought and raise a question. Shades of Jimmy Garrison? Maybe, which says something about this bassist in her early 20s making her recording debut on this album."
Pittsburgh Citipaper 5/17/07 Mike Shanley
Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but the Department of Good and Evil's album just might be the generation-gap bridge that brings open-minded young hipsters and their folks together.
Steve Smith Time Out NY April 5-11,2007
"The Dept of Good and Evil, the latest project from Rachel Z, succeeds precisely because the pianist intuits possibilities latent in her chosen material. A breezy version of “Soul Meets Body” replaces Death Cab for Cutie’s adolescent jangle with a robust bounce,“Under the Milky Way” is rendered as a lissome waltz; “Comfortably Numb” (an iTunes exclusive) is agreeably bombastic. Surging takes on Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” and Wayne Shorter’s “ESP” assert Z’s straight-jazz bona fides, as if proof were needed..."
- Oakland Tribune


Discography

Trust the Universe-Rachel Z
Yin Yang-Steps Ahead
Room of One�s Own-Rachel z
Highlife-Wayne Shorter
Kiss My Axe-Al di Meola
Love is the Power-Rachel z
Concerti-Pino Danielle Live
Infinite Desire-Al Di Meola
On the Milkyway Express-Rachel Z trio
Peacebox
Beneath the Beauty Lies�Heaven to Burn-Amplify
Urban renewal-Bobby Watson
Vertu-Stanley Clarke and Lenny White
Moon at the Window-Music of joni Mirchell-rachel Z trio
Everlasting feat Tony Levin-rRchel Z trio
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face-rachel Z trio
Growing Up Live DVD-Peter Gabriel
Growing Up2-DVD Peter Gabriel
Grace-Rachel Z
Dept of Good and Evil feat Rachel Z

Photos

Bio

Z has long been adept at bridging genres, and her group, Dept. of Good and Evil, continued that path Saturday night.They played Sting's"King of Pain" and invited trumpeter Sean Jones to the stage to assist with Wayne Shorter's "ESP."
The group then launched into Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and performed It's No Good from Depeche Mode. But the trio made its greatest impact on "Angry Chair," a song by Alice in Chains. How many jazz trios have that kind of repertory?-- Nate Guidry, Post-Gazette jazz critic 5/22/07
Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but the Department of Good and Evil's album just might be the generation-gap bridge that brings open-minded young hipsters and their folks together.
Steve Smith Time Out NY April 5-11,2007
her improvisations are often so harmonically rich and multifaceted that "Dept. of Good and Intriguing" ultimately seems like a more apt billing. -- Mike Joyce
We are excited and available for CONCERTS,CLINICS,ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE!CALL NOW 347-239-7883
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij8x5j9qJ3s
myspace.com/rachelzdeptofgoodandevil