Jeff Presslaff
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Jeff Presslaff

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"The Run-Off Groove #235"

Jeff Presslaff is a pianist that knows his music and his capabilities inside and out, and yet knows that there is so much to explore that you can never exhaust ones self if you look forward.
Looking forward is the name of the game on his album, Red Goddess (Uncontrollable), which puts him in a trio setting with drummer Scott Senior and bassist Julian Bradford.
Some will say that when you put someone in a trio setting, some kind of magic happens. Then again, listen to any extraordinary jazz played by capable musicians and you will
be able to see magic in the flesh, and this is most certainly the case with this
album. The liner notes explain that he considers his music to be a bit quirky, and that finding musicians like Senior and Bradford to play them along with him is a blessing that he is able to share with the world. The opening track, “Summer
Somewhere (One)”, is performed at a slightly sluggish/deliberate pace, as if one step will obviously lead to another but where that step leads to, no one knows.
The spacing in tracks like “2 Blue 2B” and “Two-Way Rays” keep the listener guessing, or at least anticipating where the path will lead them. Presslaff plays in a way that you can’t help but smile as you hear it, and as he communicates with
Bradford and Senior you can tell that they’re smiling too.

" April 9, 2009"

Absolutely right on jazz piano trio by a former New Yorker determined to make a jazz scene in Canada. Solid date that covers several modes and attitudes, anyone looking for a nice, solid mainstream date that has some rough edges will find this to be a real find. Well done.

"Uptown Magazine Jan. 1, 2009"

On this Trio disc, Presslaff focuses on piano compositions that span his adulthood, and relies on young bassist Julian Bradford and former Duhks percussionist Scott Senior to push and prod him into the effervescent sparks that shine from each of these tunes, which are mainly deconstructed blues outings that rely on their rhythmic hearts to maintain their structures. This won't be the easiest jazz album you'll ever listen to, but if you meet its challenge it will be satisfying, again and again. - Uptown Magazine

"dig! Magazine Mar/Apr 2009"

I think with red goddess, we have my favourite way to appreciate Jeff Presslaff's artistry: he's leading a piano trio through a collection of his originals, and that gives us a chance to really hear his musical personality.

Jeff is a multi-faceted musician who writes and arranges, and plays both piano and trombone. In this recording, we get a good illustration of his writing and his piano work. Jeff is joined by Julian Bradford, an up-and-coming Winnipeg bass player with a great sound. Scott Senior, who brings a lot of experience as a percussionist to the drum kit, rounds out the trio. The three show a great deal of ease and musical camaraderie as they move through unconventional and often soft-spoken melodic constructions, while exploring quirky harmonic schemes. The structures are open enough that the three players can really talk to each other, and the conversation is engaging.

In Red Goddess, I hear echoes of The Bad Plus, another adventurous trio who challenge the adequacy of the term jazz. If you're looking for intriguing, contemplative, inquisitive trio music, this is a good bet.

Steve Kirby is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba. - dig! Magazine


Red Goddess, Uncontrollable Records. Charting as high as #11 on RMR Canada, #19 on RMR Jazz, #26 on CMJ, #3 CMJ adds, #4 on !Earshot Jazz, and is in rotation throughout N. America.



JEFF PRESSLAFF made Winnipeg his home in 1997 and has since become well-known for inventive and accomplished playing and composing. In a nearly 40-year career that began in New York, he has performed and collaborated with many great artists, including Benny Carter, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Barron, Curtis Fuller, Roswell Rudd, Ed Blackwell, Sheila Jordan, Howard Levy, Bill Watrous, Edgar Meyer, Steve Nelson, Stanley Jordan, Frank Foster, Cornelius Bumpus, George Garzone, and T. Viswanathan. In Canada, he is best known for his work with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and Papa Mambo (for whom he has composed/arranged/produced four albums), his prolific freelance performances, and his many special productions for Jazz Winnipeg. In 2004, he was chosen Manitoba Jazz Musician of the Year.

JULIAN BRADFORD is soon to be one of Canada’s premier bassists. Still in his early twenties, he is already a first call player in Winnipeg and has toured widely. Equally at home on electric or upright, Julian can be heard on many new recordings by Winnipeg jazz and pop artists.

SCOTT SENIOR has recorded and toured worldwide as the percussionist for the well known roots group The Duhks, and is currently the conguero for Papa Mambo and percussionist for Marco Castillo. His work as a drum set player began with this trio and continues to flourish in other groups such as Daniel ROA. An avid student of indigenous percussion traditions, he has studied with masters in Cuba and Brazil.