Jeff "Siege" Siegel Sextet featuring Feya Faku

Jeff "Siege" Siegel Sextet featuring Feya Faku

Shokan, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

Shokan, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Jazz World




"Jazz trumpeter, Feya Faku, knights drummer Jeff Siegel's Quartet in kingly fashion in "King of Xhosa" CD."

Jazz trumpeter, Feya Faku, knights drummer Jeff Siegel’s Quartet in kingly fashion in “King of Xhosa” CD.

American drummer, Jeff Siegel, has discovered and gleefully responded to the beckoning African sounds from a musical ‘king’ of the Xhosa people in South Africa, trumpet and fugelhorn wizard, Feya Faku. For those who know him, Faku is known to carry himself certainly in a kingly, but humble, way with the various peers he has played with around the world. As special artist on Siegel’s latest album, “King of Xhosa”, he has indeed knighted Siegel’s Quartet with stunning applause and African sound dimensions that are very special. Both musicians have benefited as teachers of jazz in their respective countries which might explain how the multi-faceted songs landed in this album, with lots of sharing of compositions amongst band members: Erica Lindsay presents her sonorous tenor saxophone on most tracks; pianist Francesca Tanksley keeps the pace, sometimes with a heavy bottom clef or whimsical treble runs, as in her ‘Prayer’; and bassist Rich Syracuse, also a professor, holds the backline tightly, with percussionist Fred Berryhill filling in with samba and other African rhythms.


This eclectic album, released this January 2017 by Artists Recording Collective label, starts and ends with Africanness, thanks to Faku’s praise vocals in the beginning ‘Totem’ and Berryhill’s percussion at the end song ‘Umngqungqo (Rhythm)’. In between, the album boasts a mosaic of impressions: open sonic spaces of the South African countryside with Faku’s fugelhorn brilliantly invoking spiritual calling and elephant roars, as in ‘Call to Spirits’; post-bebop tributes to struggling musicians, as in Tanksley’s ‘Life on the Rock’; unattended heros, like Faku’s teachers who gave so much towards cultural growth in others, as in the duo, ‘Courage’ and ‘Unsung’. The latter soulfully presents that familiar Faku touch strengthened by an eloquent Siegel drum solo.

But it’s the prayerful, spiritual nature of mood and message that grabs as Faku weaves his horn’s melodies through solemn chats with Lindsay’s saxophone, as in the thought-provoking ‘Prayer’, which is Siegel’s favourite song on the album.

Erica Lindsay. Courtesy: Francesca-11
Erica Lindsay. Courtesy: Francesca-11
Faku continues to develop his spiritual soundscape by wandering mournfully through “Ballad of the Innocent”, a beautifully crafted piece by Siegel written after the Brussels bombing. It speaks to a need for reflective quietude so that humanity can realize peace and hope for a better world. One hears the pain and struggle for this through Faku’s sensitive manoeuvres as he reverently enhances the mood through conversations with the tenor saxophone. His familiar signature tone is heard also in a ballad-soothing, ‘Inner Passion’, which both Faku and Siegel agree all musicians must have to drive their musicality.

Siegel’s drums set the pace in ‘Gotta Get To It’, an upbeat message after a lilting slow ballad. One hears Coltrane influences from saxophonist and educator Lindsay who penned this piece, which explains her love for bop. The sax and trumpet make carefree play, frolicking very nicely over the keys and rhythms. Once appropriately woken up from a musical slumber, the album intersects with fast beats dominated by Siegel’s skilled percussive direction, like in the salsa inspired “Erica’s Bag”.

Francesca Tanksley
Francesca Tanksley
Feya Faku not only boasts a distinctly clear and relatively uncomplicated sound with clean runs and tonation on his instruments, but also continually activates his intuitive ears which enable him to collaborate with so many other greats. He cannot be ‘compared’ with others; his uniqueness, both in musical mechanics, spirit, and technique can best be measured by the honesty of delivery he gives to so many of his albums. This album shines with Faku’s integrity. And it’s Afro-fusion has rubbed off on the Jeff Siegel Quartet in very special ways.

"King of Xhosa" Jeff Siegel Quartet with Feya Faku -

"Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet | King Of Xhosa"

by Stamish Malcuss

It is always uplifting when a musician truly pays homage to the authenticity of history, and in keeping with a languages origin, while also uniquely making it their own. Appropriately titled, the opening track “King of Xhosa,” is a hand drum invocation and an introduction in the Xhosa language of South Africa, as that is exactly where the origins and influences of this music came from. Drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel and his quartet are joined on this recording by South African native, Feya Faku on trumpet and flugelhorn, who is a key element in the appeal of the music.
Faku’s background is filled with playing with legends such as Bheki Mseleku, and Abdullah Ibrahim. The relationship began when Siegel was introduced to Faku’s inimitable sound at a Woodstock engagement, it was his later trip to South Africa where he encouraged Faku to come back to record an album.
Siegel’s quartet is grounded by bassist Rich Syracuse, also with Erica Lindsay on tenor saxophone, pianist Francesca Tanksley, and veteran percussionist Fred Berryhill who I might add is a long-time associate of Siegel’s and certainly fits the bill of executing complex rhythms of Africa with straight ahead jazz, which listeners can delight in on King of Xhosa.
Each player is connected and engaged in the moment especially signified in the meditative “Prayer,” from pianist Tanksley, a tribute to the power of compassionate love. A tune influenced by the wisdom found in the style of Abdullah Ibrahim, an extended delve into the comforting effects of spirituality. I might add, Tanksley also penned “Life On The Rock,” a hard-bop cut where the muscularity of the group is in full shine. A theme of senseless violence and its victims are deeply given a respectful treatment on Siegel’s “Ballad Of The Innocent,” a poignant requiem conveyed in an introspective and somber mood, the colors and textures created by the ensemble are a befitting reverence.
A Faku contribution is found in “Courage,” it is immediately apparent this tune is chalk full of homage to his mentors and elders. He further demonstrates his jazz lineage on “Unsung,” and softer side on “Inner Passion,” played in tandem with saxophonist Lindsey, who rises to the task with eloquence. Lindsey also a contributor writes with a leaning from the Coltrane, with a more cerebral inspired “Gotta Get To It;” another highpoint tune “Call To Spirits,” features an effective call and response effect. Whereas “Get Real,” employs a funky groove, presenting her lighter side with expressiveness. A well placed “Umngqungqo,” takes us back to where we began, a fitting closure of the set.
It is not unusual today to have an African leaning on any jazz recording, in fact it is quite documented, but what this offering brings to the table is a deeper delve and a respectful homage all played with authenticity and truthfully dripping with love, it is each note this message rings true, the talent is a plenty and with the additive of Faku the sound is a resounding joy to experience. The true meaning of music – to experience the feeling of being uplifted.
Track Listing: Totem; Prayer; King Of Xhosa; Life On The Rock; Courage; Unsung; Ballad Of The Innocent; Gotta Get To It; Call To Spirits; Inner Passion; Erica’s Bag; get Real; Umngqungqo (Rhythm).
Personnel: Jeff “Siege” Siegel: drums, percussion; Erica Lindsay: tenor saxophone; Francesca Tanksley: piano; Rich Syracuse: bass; Feya Faku: flugelhorn; Fred Berryhill: percussion. - Jazz Sensibilities

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: King of Xhosa"

4 Stars

Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: King Of Xhosa

James Nadal By JAMES NADAL
January 23, 2017

Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: King Of Xhosa It is appropriate that the opening track on King Of Xhosa, is a hand drum invocation and an introduction in the Xhosa language of South Africa, as that is exactly where the origins and influences of this music came from. Drummer Jeff "Siege" Siegel and his quartet are augmented on this recording by Feya Faku, a South African native, on trumpet and flugelhorn, and the one who sets the character of the music.

Siegel, an accomplished drummer, leader, and educator, was drawn to Faku's unique sound at a Woodstock engagement, and went to South Africa on a mission to get Faku to come back to record an album. Faku earned his mastery of South African jazz by playing with legends as Bheki Mseleku, and Abdullah Ibrahim, so his credentials are impeccable, and are on full display here.

Siegel's quartet is anchored by bassist Rich Syracuse, with Erica Lindsay on tenor saxophone, and rounded out by pianist Francesca Tanksley. Veteran percussionist Fred Berryhill is a longtime associate of Siegel's and is more than capable of combining the complex rhythms of Africa with straight ahead jazz as is the menu on this project.

The compositions are well dispersed among the participants, led off by the pensive "Prayer," from pianist Tanksley, a tribute to the power of merciful love. This song has the profundity found in the style of Abdullah Ibrahim, an extended foray into the calming effects of spirituality. Tanksley also penned "Life On The Rock," a hard bop number where everyone gets to shine. The title track is obviously Siegel's tribute to his guest, and goes through several tempo and rhythmic variations as Faku takes the initial solo in homage to his homeland. Senseless violence and its victims are examined on Siegel's "Ballad Of The Innocent," a poignant requiem depicted in an accurate solemn mood.

"Courage," is Faku's contribution, and appreciation to his teachers, as is customary to show respect to mentors and elders. He demonstrates his jazz lineage on "Unsung," and soft sophistication on "Inner Passion," played in tandem with saxophonist Lindsey, who is brilliant throughout. Lindsey writes with cerebral leanings from the Coltrane inspired "Gotta Get To It;" to the highlight number "Call To Spirits," where the solitary flugelhorn beckons the sax to join in the exploration process in a resonant call and response. On the other hand, her "Get Real," falls into a playful funky groove, presenting her lighter side. The drums of "Umngqungqo," are a fitting closure of the set, to go out the way they came in.

The African influence on jazz is evident and well documented, but this record serves as a booster shot, to keep the music honest and sincere. Siegel's quartet can certainly rely on its own merits and is loaded with talent; but he was adventurous enough to want to realize the music he heard in his head, and that he needed Faku to accomplish this production. An African visitor to America is a joyful celebration at the intersection of cultures that can be manifested through music, and we are all better for it.

Track Listing: Totem; Prayer; King Of Xhosa; Life On The Rock; Courage; Unsung; Ballad Of The Innocent; Gotta Get To It; Call To Spirits; Inner Passion; Erica’s Bag; get Real; Umngqungqo (Rhythm).

Personnel: Jeff “Siege” Siegel: drums, percussion; Erica Lindsay: tenor saxophone; Francesca Tanksley: piano; Rich Syracuse: bass; Feya Faku: flugelhorn; Fred Berryhill: percussion.

Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ARC - Artists Recording Collective -

"Feya Faku and Jeff Siegel Make Majestic Music"

On the other hand, you may not yet know about Faku’s latest outing on disc: in New York drummer/leader Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel’s King of Xhosa (Artists Recording Collective) ( )

Teacher and composer Siegel has had a diverse career. A lengthy stint with the Sir Roland Hanna Trio in the 1990s has been bookended by work across all the more interesting parts of the jazz spectrum, from Sheila Jordan, Wadada Leo Smith and Ron Carter to Ravi Coltrane, Kurt Elling and Baikida Carroll, as well as his current outfit and university teaching work.

The two first met in 2014 when Faku featured in the US with South African supergroup Uhadi (Sibongile Khumalo, Paul Hanmer, McCoy Mrubata, Herbie Tsoaeli and Justin Badenhorst). That led to Siegel visiting South Africa where, at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the idea of the collaboration was first mooted “because African music is the roots of what we play as jazz musicians,” as Siegel explains in his press release.

The rest of the group comprises Siegel’s regular ensemble: saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley, bassist Rich Syracuse, plus another guest, percussionist Fred Berryman. The album title is intended as a tribute, and the theme of tribute is echoed by other compositions, including Faku’s own Courage: a set of praises for the great South African musicians who were his teachers.

Lindsay contributes the lion’s share of compositions to the 13 tracks. She writes – and plays – thoughtful, exploratory lines with plenty of room for everybody to stretch out. Sometimes her music recalls the Trane-like intensity of an earlier New York jazz club era (Gotta Get To It) – as Paul Hanmer once said, of a Voice album: “You can see the suits and smell the cigarette smoke”. This, plus the appropriately crisp swing of Siegel’s drums is the cue for a generous helping of Faku’s own classic, hard-swinging side – which pops up again on Lindsay’s updated hard-bop Get Real and Tanksley’s funky Life on the Rock. For South Africans, both those tracks recall the kind of music being made at places like Cape Town’s Room At The Top, back in the day.

We get lots of Faku’s familiar gentle lyricism on his own song, and on Siegel’s Ballad of the Innocent (for the Brussels bombing victims), alongside the composer’s sensitive brushwork and Tanksley’s contained but emotionally powerful piano lines. In the centrepiece, the extended Call To Spirits, the impro flies free, and the power of Lindsay’s solo and Siegel’s patterned textures are impressive. At the opening and at the close, African-inspired drumming and percussion (and, in the opener, Faku’s short praise-poem) pay their own homage to African roots and rhythms.

All these shifts in mood and style reveal a wonderfully flexible, empathetic ensemble and the true power of jazz teamworking across borders ( ). Outside those South Africans who have already encountered Siegel at Grahamstown, in this country it may be Faku’s name that sells the record, but everybody on it is worth hearing.

That’s not just the opinion of a South African. Website allaboutjazz’s James Nadal praises the album enthusiastically: “The African influence on jazz is evident and well documented, but this record serves as a booster shot, to keep the music honest and sincere. Siegel’s quartet can certainly rely on its own merits and is loaded with talent; but he was adventurous enough to want to realize the music he heard in his head, and [know] that he needed Faku to accomplish this production…” ( )

I wonder, though, about that album title…

The liner notes are careful and explicit: the album is titled in tribute to the trumpeter’s lineage and community, not an attempt to label Faku (or, indeed, Siegel) as king of anything. An older, Xhosa-speaking friend to whom I showed the cover art, however, did a slightly spluttering double-take: “What on earth are they trying to say here?”

The House of Traditional Leaders is home to more than one Xhosa monarch. Implying there is only one erases much history, in the same way as assuming Africa is only one country does. (Whether Africa should be one country is, of course, a different and wholly legitimate debate.) It would be a pity if anybody was put off a superb album by the impression that it displays either hubris or ignorance about the lived patterns of Xhosa clan affiliation and leadership. Anyone who has encountered Faku knows he’s the most modest and self-effacing of musicians, despite his achievements. So, if the title worries you, let it go. Just listen to the music. - sisgwenjazz (South Africa)

"King of Xhosa (ARC) CD"


The new drummer quartet album Jeff "Siege" Siegel is a bang for this 2017 and shows the extraordinary vitality of the New York jazz scene. "King of the Xhosa" sees Siegel veteran (Ron Carter, Dave Douglas, Jack De Johnette) as South African trumpet player Feya Faku (Uhadi) and percussionist Fred Berryhill, as well as the former companions of previous albums, the saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley and bassist Rich Siracusa. The title is a tribute and tribute to Xhosa, an ethnic group of Bantu origin, among the most numerous in South Africa after the Zulu and ethnicity to which Nelson Mandela's father also belonged.
From the tribal introduction of Totem to the next Prayer meditation, it is intuited by Siegel's intention to represent and celebrate two great cultures - African and American - in a continuous exchange of languages ​​that have shaped Jazz music over the years.
An engaging rhythm and a constant interplay between the instruments characterize the title track where the expressive freedom of the trumpet before, the later piano and the tenor sax in the finish mark a total dive into the best post-bob heard in recent times.
The theme of Life On The Rock brings us back to Miles Davis in the late 1950s while the Spirituality of Courage gives us a wonderful writing capacity of Feya Faku, excellent interpreter and great composer before the touching Ballad of the Innocent dedicated to the victims Of the bombings in Brussels reminds us of the recent and sad contemporary history. But spirits call and as usual we rely on them to show us the right path to follow and together with the music give us the energy to be able to continually renew, passionate and rarely illuminate as we hear this King of the Xhosa. - Argonauta (Italy)

"Jeff Siege Siegel - King of Xhosa"

by Filipe Freitas, Jazz Trail

Erica Lindsay: saxophone; Francesca Tanksley: piano; Rich Syracuse: bass; Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel: drums + guests Feya Faku: trumpet; Fred Berryhill: percussion.

A freeing intersection of cultures is used as a premise for Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel Quartet’s magnificent album, King of Xhosa.
In this recording, Siegel, an experienced drummer, composer, and educator living in Woodstock, New York, welcomes the South African trumpeter Feya Faku and the percussionist Fred Barryhill as his personal guests.
His gripping quartet benefits from the presence of amazing improvisers such as the pianist Francesca Tanksley and the saxophonist Erica Lindsay. Siegel works closely with the bassist Rich Syracuse, with whom he establishes the primary foundations to better serve the improvisers.
The album, starting and finishing at the sound of short pieces centered in African percussion, has its first great moment in “Prayer”, whose spiritual spell and organic clamor are reminiscent of Billy Harper’s harmonic structures. This is not surprising since Tanksley, who composed the tune, is part of the latter’s current quintet. Faku opens the improvisational section, spreading persuasive melodic phrases; Lindsay boasts her rippling dialect by playing in and out; Tanksley is exemplary and exhilarating in her style.
The title track, a Siegel’s original, is driven with a Latin feel and invites us to the vicious quadrature of its musical web. It thrives by exalting the spirit through rapturous solos and a taut sense of interplay.
Tanksley’s “Life on the Rock” changes the mood adopted till then, preferring a swinging rhythm to support its author’s post-bop whims. In addition to the usual suspects, Syracuse adventures himself in his first solo.
Faku contributes with three of his own tunes. His trumpet fills up in “Courage”, an introspective and enchanting small anthem that contrasts with the stirring, Italian-style “Unsung”.
Things cool down with Siegel’s “Ballad of the Innocent”, but the fire doesn’t wait too long to be relit. It happens with a couple of tunes by Lindsay: “Gotta Get To It”, a generous entreaty, and especially “Call to Spirits”, a yearning, often oneiric, and vitally percussive imploration, here magnified by the avant-gardish phrases of the tenorist.
Through “Erica’s Bag”, Siegel steps on Latin ground, just to end up trading fours with his peers. To conclude the session, the blues-drenched “Get Real” is dispensed with heart and dynamism.
King of Xhosa is a little gem that bursts with the verve of a quartet in top form. It’s not uncommon to hear fractions of Harper, McCoy, and Coltrane in this healing amalgam of modal music, avant-garde, and post-bop.
Joy for the ears, food for the soul. - Jazz Trail

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: King of Xhosa"

Jeff “Siege” Siegel and the diaspora of the Xhosa people? Absolutely. Siegel is family to the Xhosa; not simply musical family, but in a tradition where every one of 8 million Xhosa raise every one of their kind. And while this may be his first recording connecting Siegel to the Xhosa, it is certainly imbued with the studied grace and nobility of Xhosa tonal language, reflected in the breathtaking use of pitch to inflect every stroke of the stick, brush and mallet on the resonating cymbal and fervent votive tattooed on the taut skin of Siegel’s drums. It’s not hard to be completely seduced by the music of King of Xhosa by Jeff “Siege” Siegel. You don’t have to know that Siegel played with Bheki Mseleku or Abdullah Ibrahim; simply allow Siegel’s stunning percussion colouring to do the needful.

Jeff “Siege” Siegel’s shows a masterful grasp of the many-splendoured tonal language of the Xhosa, a facet of his music that is displayed in the brilliance of the writing and in the performances by the wonderful soloists in this ensemble. Gone are the symphonic flashes found in other big-name recordings of African – even Xhosa – music. Stripping the textural palette right back, Siegel makes musicianship dominate. He also taps into the subtle arts of his fellow performers, especially the flugelhorn player Feya Faku and tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, with Fred Berryhill pitching in with a sun splashed palette of his own on “Totem”, “Prayer”, “King of Xhosa” “Call To Spirits” and “Umngqungqo”. Together with those players as well as bassist Rich Syracuse and pianist Francesca Tanksley, Siegel has created a benchmark performance of music in the Xhosa idiom. The fulsome compositions and arrangements are suitably lean. And yet Siegel seeks – and gets – transparency of texture, timbre and colour from all of the instrumentalists.

This transparency allows each composer’s major ideas to crystallise no matter what tempo is set. Sometimes Siegel slows the pulse so that harmonic pillars become massive, as in “Life On The Rock”. Elsewhere he has other members of his Quartet scamper off mischievously after each other in interjections as graceful as they are distinctive. Erica Lindsay is a force of nature throughout. She is always ahead of the curve both in profoundly slow as well as breakneck tempi. Her arabesques on “Gotta Get To It” and “Call To Spirits” drive the solo saxophone parts right up into the stratosphere, sometimes in a slow dance with the other members of the ensemble. She takes the palm with her effortless playing. The true jewel of this recording is Jeff “Siege” Siegel on “King of Xhosa” and “Umngqungqo”. However grand the choruses, however reckless the solos, Siegel draws power from the many levels of tone textures of the Xhosa ;language, here, uniquely restored in all its Jazz glory.

Track List: Totem; Prayer; King Of Xhosa; Life On The Rock; Courage; Unsung; Ballad Of The Innocent; Gotta Get To It; Call To Spirits; Inner Passion; Erica’s Bag; get Real; Umngqungqo (Rhythm).

Personnel: Jeff “Siege” Siegel: drums, percussion; Erica Lindsay: tenor saxophone; Francesca Tanksley: piano; Rich Syracuse: bass; Feya Faku: flugelhorn; Fred Berryhill: percussion. - JazzdaGama

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet - King Of Xhosa"

Jeff Siege Siegel Quartet - King Of Xhosa Xhosa - the second largest in South Africa, but in a team of musicians, recording the album "King Spit", it is represented by only one person. It Feyya Fukue, trumpet player and one of the most prominent representatives of jazz music in South Africa. In contrast to such well-known South African jazz musicians like Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela and Bheki Mseleku, Feyya Fukue loudly announced himself already in the country, freed from apartheid. He studied jazz at the University of Natal under the leadership of Darius Brubeck, son of the famous jazz musician. And then there were numerous performances at festivals at home and abroad, recording albums, touring in Europe (where it is, incidentally, a lot has collaborated with well-known to our readers Dutch saxophonist Paul van Kemenade) and the United States. During one of the performances of American Feyya met with baroabanschikom, composer and educator Jeff "Shiga" Siegel.

Siegel - one of American jazz veterans. He first declared itself in New York in the early 80s. Jeff played in a variety of formulations, including Sir Roland Hanna, has shared the stage with many jazz celebrities, mostly meynstrimovskogo sense, but also with representatives of the avant-garde and his own quartet has existed since the 90s. Hearing game Fukue in 2014, Siegel set about trying to create a joint project with the musician. Followed later the American trip to South Africa made the outlines of this project real. King Of Xhosa, was released in January 2017.

In its creation participated musicians quartet Siegel, reinforced by two guests - Feyya Fukue and percussionist Fred Berrihillom. The quartet Siegel important place is occupied by two ladies - tenor saxophonist Erika Lindsi and pianist Francesca Tenksli. Both - not only experienced ispolntelnitsy, but also the writer of a large part of the repertoire of the quartet. When meeting with the King Of Xhosa I was particularly pleasing to a new meeting with Francesca, whose Journey album (2002) was reviewed in due course in the «Jazz-Square". As for the King Of Xhosa, already its name to the album it emphasizes the importance of African themes in this music. However, mistaken one who considers this work a classic example of ethno-jazz. Actually ethnics explicitly, with a powerful expressive percussion sound Four Hands (Siegel and Berrihilla) is present only in some plays, like opening Totem with characteristic vocals Fukue to Xhosa, Call To Spirits or Umngqungqo (Rhythm). In most cases we are dealing with mainstream jazz, rich interesting topics post-bopovogo wing rhythmic sophistication and beautiful combination of votes quartet of musicians and their South African guest. It is jazz, not foreign exotics here in the first place. The compositions of the album were written by different authors: there is the music of Jeff Siegel, and Lindsey, and Tenksli, but they are arranged in a flat and solid program, listening to who understands what jazz really connects people. - Jazz-Square (Russia)

"LEADING DRUMMERS…Gustavo Cortinas: Snapshot, Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet: King of Xhosa"

by George W. Harris

Unlike in politics, it is possible to musically lead from “behind,” as these two albums lead by drummers aptly demonstrate.

Drummer and composer Gustavo Cortinas takes you on a musical journey through various philosophers and philosophies ranging from Descartes to Hegel and Aristotle. You don’t have to be a master of dialecticism or existentialism to appreciate the songs, however, as there are no lyrics or lectures during the 11 pieces. Instead, Cortinas along with Justin Copelandt/tp, Roy McGrath-Artie Black/ts, Adam Thornburg/tb, Hans Luchs/g, Joaquin Garcia/p and Kitt Lyles/b take you on various post bop moods and melodies. The Mediterranean “Arete” includes a 5/4 Ionian pulse for Copeland’s horn and the leader’s drum solo, while “Cogio ergo Sum” has the horns and guitar soaring over Lyles’ longing bass line. The grooves mix and match like a thesis and anti-thesis during the Latin pattern for Thornburg and Garcia on the straight-ahead “Dialectics of Freedom” while some free form blowing teams with interaction from drums and guitar for the order out of chaos laden title track. Warm harmonies from the horns mix with “The Man of Flesh and Bone” and the team gets its hard bopping-est for the leader to drive the master race forward on “Ubermensch.” Wonderful and stimulating musically, but it would have been nice to have a Biblically based philosopher acknowledged in the process, from which all reason is born.

Jeff “Siege” Siegel uses his drums and percussion to team up with Erica Lindsay/ts, Francesca Tanksley/p, Rich Syracuse/b, Feya Faku/fh and Fred Berryhill/pec for a collection of originals that mix African exoticism and folk sounds with vintage modal jazz. Clicking tongues and tribal percussion bookend the remaining 11 songs, which include a vintage Coltaneish piece like “Prayer” for Siegel to pulse forward with his ride cymbal while the caravan like grooves create fluid foundations for Faku and Lindsay on the stampeding “Call to Spirits.” The team can boogaloo with the best on “Get Real” and sizzle on a Latin lilt on ”Erica’s Bag.” Galloping like it’s a Serengeti migration dives along with Tanksley’s piano on “Unsung” and gallop on the thrilling title track. This one’s a keeper for fans of classic Impulse! albums. - Jazz Weekly

"King of Xhosa"

"I highly recommend Jeff 'Siege' Siegel's recording "King of Xhosa". The music has a warm organic energetic flow to it, with deep thoughtful solos and cohesive group interaction radiating through every track".

Jack DeJohnette - Jack DeJohnette (Musician)

"Jeff Siegel Jazz Master"

Conocimos a Jeff Siegel hace unos años
durante el Festival de Jazz de La Plata,
cuando llevé en mi vehículo a un grupo de
músicos norteamericanos a Buenos Aires
para que tocasen en Thelonius. Y como
entre bateristas nos entendemos enseguida
“pegamos” buena onda con Jeff,
con quien mantuvimos contacto hasta esta
oportunidad donde volvió al país para
tocar con el pianista Pete Levin y el famoso
bajista Tony Levin, bajo el nombre de The
Levin Brothers. Una pequeña gira que los
llevó a tocar en varios países de Sudamérica.
Jeff Siegel es un profesional muy eficaz,
creativo y con un dominio del lenguaje
jazzístico de su país como ningún otro baterísta
lo tiene. No se conforma con la batería
y siempre lleva su set de percusión
que suma a su paleta de colores generando
distintos momentos en el show que
contribuyen a una atmósfera variada y entretenida.
La dupla con Tony es perfecta y
el trío se ha convertido en poco tiempo, en
una de las atracciones de la nueva escena,
de Nueva York para el mundo. Con
¿Cómo te involucraste con la música y por qué
terminaste tocando batería?
Vengo de una familia musical. Mi mamá era un
profesora de música y pianista, tanto mi hermano
como mi hermana tocaban instrumentos y mi
abuelo era un violista profesional. Comencé a tocar
el clarinete por un año, pero me cansé de eso. Si
estoy en lo cierto, creo que fue la combinación de
escuchar la canción “Wipe Out” en la radio por los
Surfaris, y ver a Ringo Starr con los Beatles en TV
lo que atrajo mi atención a los tambores.
¿Te acordas de tus primeros maestros o escuelas
de música y tu primer kit de batería?
Tuve un profesor de música muy inspirador llamado
Sr. Healy. Él era muy innovador e hizo que la
música fuese emocionante para nosotros. Haría
cosas como tachuelas en las teclas del piano para
cambiar el sonido. Él nos hacía escuchar todo tipo
de música clásica, show, canciones de cowboys,
popular, etc. y realmente nos atrajo de niños. Mi
madre también participaba en los espectáculos de
música en la escuela tocando a cuatro manos
piano, con el Sr. Healy. Mi primer tambor era azul
sparkle, un Gretsch con badge redondo. ¡Me encantó
ese tambor y desearía tenerlo ahora!. Tuve
la oportunidad uno o dos años más tarde cambiarlo
en un comercio por mi primer set de batería
que era una Rodgers Blanca Perlada (White Marine
Pearl). Tenía un tambor, un bombo, un tom (sin tom
de pie), un soporte de Hi Hat con unos platillos muy
funky y un ride aún más funky que ¡se doblaba con
cada golpe!. Más tarde añadiría más cuerpos y
mejores platillos a medida que pasaron los años.
Nombranos al artista que más te influyó en tu formación,
también a los bateristas que se convirtieron
en tus héroes cuando eras más joven…
Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria tuve mi
mejor maestro. Su nombre era Larry Callahan y él
era muy inspirador como profesor, instrumentista
y persona. Un día me preguntó si alguna vez
había oído hablar de un baterista llamado Buddy
Rich… Le dije que no y él escribió la dirección de
una escuela secundaria no muy lejos de donde
yo vivía, donde Buddy Rich iba a aparecer con su
Big Band. ¡Fui al concierto y mi vida cambió para
siempre!. Compré varios de sus discos y practicaba
con ellos todos los días, junto con gran parte
de discos de rock y pop del día, pero él era la
fuerza impulsora de inspiración en ese momento.
¿Tu primer “gig” importante?
Mientras vivía en Albany, Nueva York, después de
graduarme de la universidad, tuve la oportunidad
de tocar con un par de maestros de jazz que vivían
localmente llamados Nick Brignola y J. Monterose.
Eran unos saxofonistas internacionalmente conocidos
y tuve la oportunidad de tocar con ellos un
poco. Mi mayor gig y el más importante en ese
momento en mi vida sin embargo, fue en julio de
'80. Yo estaba visitando Boston con algunos amigos
y mi hermano, cuando recibí una llamada de
mi madre que mi amigo / mentor pianista John Espósito
estaba tratando de contactarme. Lo llamé y
me dijo que él estaba haciendo una fecha de registro
esa noche en Nueva York con el guitarrista
Steve Geraci con el gran multi instrumentista Arthur
Rhames, John Stubblefield, Rashied Ali, y más. Al
Foster era el baterista pero había dejado la sesión
ese día. Rashied fue contratado pero no pudo
tocar todo el disco. John le hizo escuchar a Steve
Geraci algunas cintas donde yo tocaba y le gustó
como sonaba y me pidió que estuviera en el disco.
Manejé como loco a 95 millas por hora a Albany ,
recogí mi batería luego manejé a Nueva York a 90
millas por hora en la lluvia e hice la sesión y ¡¡sobraron
15 minutos de sesión!!. Conocí a todos
estos grandes músicos y la sesión terminó siendo
de dos noches de duración. Después de la primera
noche llamo al trabajo que tenía en Albany
haciendo rosquillas, les dije que llegaría al día siguiente
para hacer las rosquillas porque había conseguido
¡mi primera grabación! Ellos dijeron que
si “no vienes a hacer las roscas mañana estás despedido”.
Dije: “¿Despedido?”, “¡Renuncio!” dije. Mi
amigo John tenía una habitación libre en su apartamento
en Harlem y durante la noche me mudé a
Nueva York y comencé a trabajar con Rhames.
Los bateristas de jazz siempre están tratando de
aprender más, ¿cuáles crees que son las cosas
más importantes para un baterista de jazz para
concentrarse en? (Ampliar si lo desea).
Mi forma de tocar cambió tanto cuando me volví
mucho más consciente de la melodía de cada
canción y la internalicé. Si conoces la melodía, entonces
conoces la forma del tema sin necesidad
de contar. También está implícita en la melodía la
armonía y el sonido de la armonía, así como el
ritmo de la melodía misma. Todas estas ideas son
útiles para un baterista en términos de lirismo,
tocar para la canción y para los otros músicos,
etc. Una vez que vas más allá de la técnica para
tocar la batería, te das cuenta que ser musical es
el aspecto más importante para tocar bien y ser
contratado por otros músicos. Saber escuchar,
complementar a los otros músicos en toque, al
mismo tiempo ser consciente de la importancia
del contraste, son otras ideas importantes. Tener
la libertad de hacer todas estas cosas en el momento
de tocar, requiere de técnica y mucha coordinación
en la batería, así que también pasé
mucho tiempo en eso, obviamente.
La improvisación es muy importante en un estilo
como el jazz, ¿cómo desarrollar este aspecto.
Pienso que cuanto más experiencia uno tiene, consigue
expresar mejor las ideas, ¿qué opinas vos?
Como profesor y baterista de experiencia en este
momento de mi vida, me resulta difícil enseñar
solos de batería sin antes pedirle a un baterista que
toque una canción que pueda cantar. Si no conoces
una canción es difícil para mí considerar hacer
un solo en ella. En otras palabras, la génesis de las
ideas que uno toca debe ser un reflejo de la melodía
real y la forma de la canción. Similar a un mantra
en la meditación, la canción va a través de mi cabeza
en tiempo a través de mi solo. Puedo dibujar
y desarrollar motivos específicos de la melodía.
También puedo concentrarme en los espacios
entre donde la melodía real cae a veces (como Roy
Haynes). También incorporo mis propios pensamientos
y sentimientos, usando poliritmos, rudimentos
y vocabulario específico de la batería para
expresar mis sentimientos e ideas personales.
También puedo concentrarme en los centros tonales
de la armonía y utilizar partes específicas del,
toms por ejemplo, para reflejar la correlación en el
sonido. Por ejemplo, el sonido del tom más pequeño
puede estar relacionado con el sonido de
la armonía de la música para una frase de cuatro
u ocho compases y entonces puedo gravitar hacia
ese sonido para esa parte de la melodía. Es difícil
de explicar, pero cuanto más uno se acostumbra
a escuchar realmente canciones y melodías en los
tambores uno puede tomar mejores decisiones.
Grabaste y tocaste con grandes músicos, nos
Entrevista a Jeff Baterístas al Sur “Siege” Siegel | 27
28 | Entrevista a Jeff “Siege” Siegel Baterístas al Sur
podes contar algunas historias sobre cómo es
tocar con Pat Metheny, Tony Levin y otros grandes
músicos. ¿Cómo terminaste tocando con ellos?
Algunos grandes músicos con los que toqué solo
fue por una vez, otros por mucho tiempo. Pat Metheny,
a quien mencionas,podes contar algunas historias sobre cómo es
tocar con Pat Metheny, Tony Levin y otros grandes
músicos. ¿Cómo terminaste tocando con ellos?
Algunos grandes músicos con los que toqué solo
fue por una vez, otros por mucho tiempo. Pat Metheny,
a quien mencionas, fue una experiencia de
un gig. Fue fantástico, a veces llegaba hasta la
batería frente a mí con la guitarra para tocar solo
conmigo, se creaba una energía increíble, ¡al igual
que tener una conversación cara a cara con alguien!
Yo estaba tan feliz de tocar su canción
"Pregunta y Respuesta" con él, que no podía creerlo.
Tony Levin vino a oírme cuando estaba tocando
un show de música brasilera con su
hermano Pete. Pete me había recomendado
para esta banda de trío que estaban armando.
Un año después recibí una llamada de Pete y
todo esto empezó a unirse. Tony es un maestro
increíble del tempo, totalmente musical con un
gran Groove. Pete también es un pianista fantástico
y un gran arreglista. Arthur Rhames, a quien
mencioné antes, me reuní en la fecha de grabación.
Estaba tan por encima mío que tenía que
hacer todo para mantenerme a su par, musical y
físicamente. Practicaba horas y horas los ritmos
más rápidos con metrónomo. Solía correr arriba
y abajo en las colinas en el invierno y beber Gatorade,
comer frutos secos y bayas, ya que los
conciertos con él eran de 2 ½ horas de intensidad
¡sin parar! Sir Roland Hanna, el pianista fenomenal,
era un profesor mío en el Queens
College en mi programa de Masters of Jazz. El
primer día de clases, la batería estaba encerrada
en un locker y no podíamos usarla en mi clase
de ensamble. Tuve que tocar con pinceles sobre
periódicos y sobre la silla en la que estaba sentado.
¡Los estudiantes se volvieron locos! Supongo
que a Roland le gustó lo que escuchó
porque tomó mi número de teléfono ese día (sin
escucharme realmente en el instrumento) y empecé
a trabajar con él durante varios años después
de eso. Podría seguir y seguir con las
historias, pero no quiero aburrir a los lectores.
¿Cómo es actualmente tu equipamiento Jeff? ¿te
gusta lo vintage?
No soy ciertamente lo que se dice un loquito por
el equipamiento. En un tiempo tuve un endorsement
de platillos Sabian, que ya no tengo. Actualmente
estoy auspiciado por Vic Firth, palillos que
me encantan, en particular el modelo Peter Erskine
Ride Stick (pesado). Toco baterías Gretsch
aunque no estoy endorsado por ellos. Utilizo un
tambor de 14”, un bombo de 18”, un tom de 12”,
y un tom de pie de 14". También tengo un tom de
6”, más que inusual en Gretsch y también un tom
de 10”. No siempre los uso, claro. Recientemente
me ofrecieron un acuerdo con Canopus, pero se
requiere realmente la compra de los tambores
(con un descuento), pero estoy contento con mi
sonido y prefiero no gastar el dinero. No salgo de
mi camino para buscar endorsements. Me gusta
lo que tengo y creo que no soy lo suficientemente
famoso como para que las compañías sólo me
den los instrumentos (¡que me gustaría claro!).
Así que mis platillos varían de un platillo actual a
un Istanbul de 22 K Zildjian turco, uno menos vintage
de 17 K Zildjian de los años 80s, una pareja
Istanbul K Zildjian de 14. Un flat ride de 20 Sabian
(resabio de mi viejo endorsement). Tres platillos
Stagg apilados en un soporte de platillos, un platillo
de 14, un splash y un Mini China que suena
como una campana. Ese es mi sonido.
Nota del Editor: Esta respuesta realmente pone
paño frío a los muchachos tan preocupados por
un endorsement. Jeff está preocupado por tocar
con otros músicos, eso ocupa su cabeza y eso
logra. Me encantó su respuesta.
Cuéntenos sobre sus proyectos, shows y tours.
Acabo de terminar la primera y más larga etapa
de una gira con los Hermanos Levin (Pete y Tony).
Estuvimos en 5 países de Sudamérica: Chile,
Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia y El Salvador. Empezamos
ahora una gira de una semana en la zona
de la ciudad de Nueva York. Haremos una grabación
en vivo en un par de nuestros conciertos.
Antes de eso, yo estaba impartiendo clases magistrales
o clínicas durante una semana en Bogotá
en Fernando Sor Escuela de Música y Audio y
toqué con una Big Band. Este verano voy a estar
enseñando en el IASJ Reunión en Siena, Italia
(Asociación Internacional de Escuelas de Jazz).
Esta organización es como las Naciones Unidas
del Jazz, ¡realmente maravilloso! En el otoño de
este año voy a hacer una gira en los EE.UU. con
mi grupo The Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet con dos
invitados Feya Faku y Fred Berryhill (por lo que es
en realidad un sexteto). Feya es un maravilloso
trompetista de Sudáfrica y Fred es un viejo amigo
que es percusionista. Con ellos he hecho varios
proyectos a lo largo de los años. Vamos a tocar la
música de mi nuevo CD “King of Xhosa” para el
sello ARC que cuenta con este sexteto mismo. Eso
es lo que está en el horizonte para 2017, además
de mi enseñanza universitaria (Nueva Escuela de
Jazz y Música Contemporánea, Western Connecticut
State University, Universidad Estatal de Nueva
York en New Paltz) y conciertos freelance que siempre
aparecen. Realmente muchas gracias por dejarme
compartir mis pensamientos y algunas de
mis experiencias con sus lectores.¡Muchas gracias!
¡Hasta la vista Bateristas Al Sur! - Batteristas

""Magical Spaces""

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. - Fern Franke

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel - Magical Spaces"

JEFF “SIEGE” SIEGEL - Magical Spaces


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.


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

Jos Demol - Jos Demol

"Drummer Siegel Lifts Audience to New Heights"

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.
- Daily Freeman


“...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.”
- Jimmy Heath

"What the Critics Say"

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

“ inspired percussionist”---Andre Maub, Bordeaux-Loisirs

“...forward energy and abundantly attractive ideas...the best is yet to come”---Hal Howland, Modern Drummer

“ 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
- Various

"Getting Percussive"

..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. “
- Ulster Publishing's Almanac, Bob Margolis

"Live in Europe (VARIOUS REVIEWS)"

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.


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 - Allaboutjazz

""Magical Spaces""

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. - Jazz Improv, by John Patten


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. - Cadence, Jim Santella

"Drummin' Up Business: King of Xhosa"

King of Xhosa (ARC), by drummer and composer Jeff “Siege” Siegel, his quartet and two guests, begins and ends with stylistic curveballs – short, fiery rhythm showcases meant to underscore the album’s African theme. While Fred Berryhill’s hand-drumming and South African flugelhornist Feya Faku’s vocals on “Totem”, the opening track, spark impressions of a Bantu ceremony, the session quickly becomes more conventional. With a two-horn frontline playing tight unison lines, the group taps in to post-Coltrane modes and Horace Silver-style soul jazz. The African influence, while part of the overall spirit, does not predomininate. Siegel generally stays out of the way, providing rustling, agitated cadences here and there, while the ensemble members shine, both as soloists and composers. Pianist Francesca Tanksley channels hard-edged, McCoy Tyner-style comping on her self-penned “Prayer,” while Erica Lindsay’s tart tenor sax fuels her compelling “Call to the Spirits.” Faku’s flugelhorn solos are unerringly fleet and warm-toned. Listeners who encounter this gem will be rewarded with a king’s ranson of sonic riches.
--Mark Holtein, Jazziz - Jazziz

"A Drummer-Led Group With a Fresh Take on a Classic Sound"

Jeff “Siege” Siegel has worked with his quartet for some time, but now, after developing a bond with South African trumpeter Feya Faku, he’s added a fresh dimension. With that beautiful trumpet voice intertwining with sax and a driving rhythm section, King of Xhosa took shape. Siegel’s drumming supports, prods, and moves the group expertly—clean ride cymbals shimmer, while crisp snare accents push the soloists to the next level. It’s that ability to build levels of energy that makes Siegel’s playing stand out. And on the tunes where he opens into a drum break or short solo, his execution is inventive and to the point. A solid and well-played album. (Artists
Recording Collective) .Martin Patmos - Modern Drummer - October 2017

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: London Live"

Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: London Live

Troy Dostert By TROY DOSTERT
October 2, 2018

Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: London Live
An enticing record from four under-recognized jazz veterans, Jeff "Siege" Siegel's London Live features drummer Siegel and his long-standing partners pianist Francesca Tanksley and tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, plus new addition bassist Uli Langthaler, for eight expansive, well-played tracks that combine healthy respect for the jazz tradition with a hint of an adventurous edge.

The members of the quartet possess decades of experience in the jazz world. Siegel was a member of Sir Roland Hanna's group in the late 1990s, but he's also worked with Dave Douglas, Ravi Coltrane and Arthur Rhames, among many others. Lindsay has a similar breadth, with projects ranging from dates with Melba Liston and Dizzy Gillespie to avant-gardists like Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman. Not to be outdone, Tanksley has spanned the gamut of jazz styles, with steady work in Billy Harper's quintet in addition to appearances with Slide Hampton and Clifford Jordan. And although he's not a regular member of Siegel's quartet, Vienna-based Langthaler boasts a resume that includes everyone from Joe Zawinul to Wolfgang Muthspiel to Dee Dee Bridgewater. So even if you haven't heard of these musicians before, the odds are good that you have in fact heard them. And here they get to do their thing, live, in the intimate confines of London's Pizza Express Jazz Club, in closing out a two-week European tour back in 2010.

Siegel mentions in the liner notes that a citywide metro strike had just begun prior to their performance, so the club wasn't packed; but the appreciative fans who did attend are definitely enthused, and one can hear the excitement in the room build as the evening moves along. From the opening piece, Lindsay's "Meet Me at the Station," one can hear the group's pronounced debt to the classic John Coltrane Quartet, with Lindsay's keening saxophone evoking the spiritual seeker himself, and Tanksley's thunderous left hand and nimble right-hand flurries bearing that unmistakable McCoy Tyner influence. Even the repertoire points to this influence, with a potent rendition of Coltrane's "Peace on Earth" one of the disc's highlights, and Siegel's surging "Crescent Sound" an explicit homage to Elvin Jones.

But these players have too much of their own to say to be pigeonholed as Coltrane-quartet imitators. Indeed, "Meet Me at the Station" generates a lot of its energy from the push-pull rhythmic tension that Siegel creates, as the track moves back and forth between steady groove and rubato modes. One hears just as much Tony Williams as Elvin Jones in Siegel's fluid, shape-shifting delivery. And on "Crescent Sound," the musicians' avant-garde credentials are on display, with a roaming, impressively tuneful Siegel solo catalyzing some inspired playing from Lindsay that pushes well beyond any facile Coltrane comparisons, as she enters into a feisty dialogue with the drummer that produces some of the record's most untethered music, especially once Langthaler and Tanksley join in to elevate the music's passion and rhythmic intensity even further.

Although it took a while to put it on record, a successful GoFundMe campaign has finally given Siegel the chance to bring this evening of music to light—and it's a testament to what a working band can do in honing its sound through years of collaboration and mutual support.

Track Listing: Meet Me at the Station; A New Freedom; Peace on Earth; I Want Jesus to Walk with Me; Crescent Sound; M Song; Art’s Message; First Movement; Thank You.

Personnel: Jeff “Siege” Siegel: drums; Erica Lindsay: tenor saxophone; Francesca Tanksley: piano; Uli Langthaler: bass. - Allaboutjazz

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet 'London Live" CD/DIG 4/5"

Here’s a powerhouse of a quartet to be sure. Siegel leads from the drums with Erica Lindsay on tenor saxophone, Francesca Tanksley at the piano and Uli Langthaler on bass.
This is the groups fourth album and their second live offering. Recorded at London’s famed Pizza Express Jazz Club on the closing night of their fourth European tour back in 2010, the repertoire consists of six original compositions from within the band together with John Coltrane’s ‘Peace on Earth’ and a spiritual ‘I Want Jesus to Walk with Me.’

The band were afforded the luxury of having spent two weeks working together on tour before having the opportunity to lay down their music for posterity. This clearly shows in the tightness with which they play. Siegel is a veteran of the New York jazz scene with a career dating back to the early 1980s. Over the years he has performed and/or recorded with Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Sheila Jordan and Helen Merrill and the shadow of Coltrane towers over the quartet and it’s interesting to hear the saxophonist debt to the great man, even vividly capturing his spiritualism in her own playing. In fact, it would be all too easy to align this quartet’s music with that of the classic Coltrane quartet of Tyner, Garrison and Elvin Jones, but to do so would be missing the point. Coltrane is merely point of departure for this contemporary quartet.

As this is the drummer’s band I guess he can be allowed the indulgence of a drum solo to open the first track ‘Meet me at the Station’. Frequent tempo changes and a powerful saxophone feature make this a compelling opener. The aforementioned ‘Peace on Earth’ is a lesser-known Coltrane theme coming from the saxophonist’s 1966 period. There is a further nod to Coltrane on ‘Crescent Sound’, written by the drummer and inspired by the drumming of Elvin Jones on Coltrane’s ‘Crescent’. Following the drum feature the intensity builds further with contributions from saxophone and piano. ‘M Song’ brings a change of feeling with the trio alone showing their more introspective side and what a lovely feature for Tanksley bringing to mind the late, great John Taylor at times. By now you probably won’t find it too difficult to ascertain the inspiration for ‘Art’s Message’, a nod to Mr Blakey and his esteemed Jazz Messengers.

This is a set of exciting, powerful and intense music, infused by the spirit of Coltrane but not a slave to it. Each of the musicians have their own individual voices. In particular, the saxophonist has a wonderfully full and centred tone and I particularly enjoy that wide vibrato, reminiscent of Dexter Gordon at times. There is a feeling of controlled intensity throughout the album and this is true even in the less frenetic tunes. This is an album that will repay repeated listening to uncover the hidden jewels just below the surface.

Alan Musson - UK Vibe

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: London Live"

by George W. Harris • October 11, 2018 •

Drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel brings his quartet of Erica Lindsay/ts, Francesca Tanksley/p and UliLanghthaler/b to London for a 2010 gig at the Pizza Express Jazz Club. Siegel uses his sticks, brushes and parts of the drum kit to guide and coax the band to excellent effect. His cymbals create a nice dance on “Meet Me at the Station” while he gets into an Elvin Jones modal mood as Tanksley two fists it on a hard hitting “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me.” Speaking of Coltrane sounds, Lindsay delivers a fiery solo on the master’s “Piece On Earth” while bass and drum fight over the top of the hill, while the brushes dance to the earthy “Crescent Sound,” allowing the team to stretch out to maximum Impulse! power. Some nice hard bop with the ride cymbal gives a blue note signal on “Art’s Message” with a more delicate side allowing Tanksley to flow is delivered on the nice ballad “M. Song.” Strong modal and post bop outing. - Jazz Weekly

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet - London Live"

Drummer Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel, a sculptor of rhythm with a tendency to spiritual post-bop and gospel-inflected modalism, showcases London Live, an 8-track album recorded at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on the last night of a 2010 European quartet tour. The band features habitual co-workers Erica Lindsay on tenor saxophone and Francesca Tanksley on piano, both contributing with originals, plus Vienna-based bassist Uli Langthaler.

Lindsay-penned “Meet Me at The Station” anchors in a radiant modal jazz, evoking the work of Coltrane, McCoy, and Chico Freeman. The piece has Siegel’s effervescent drumming highlighting ride cymbal attacks and evincing a natural ability to swing distinctively. The quartet maintains the Coltrane invocations and spiritual connotations on Tanksley’s exuberant “A New Freedom”, in which the saxophonist embarks on circular agitation and angular figures, having the pianist building harmonic blocks with perfect pedal-points. Defining the layer beneath with magical tension, Tanksley works together with the bandleader and Langthaler, who both improvise after employing skittering percussive methods and grooving pizzicatos, respectively.

If Siegel’s “Art’s Message” follows a blues-based modal form to honor the inspiring drummer Art Blakey, then “Crescent Sound” opens with the bandleader dancing on the toms before adding cymbals in an Elvin Jones-inspired drum solo. A brief hard-swinging passage holds up Lindsay’s rhythmically inventive improv fueled by crisp exclamations, which totally come to a halt when Tanksley takes the lead. Having just bass as accompaniment, she becomes unpredictably bluesy prior to the reinstatement of the avant-gardish short theme.

Tranquility is found not only on Coltrane’s “Peace On Earth”, which opens with a bass solo, but also on “M Song”, a ballad Siegel wrote for his wife, implementing harmonic movements typical from jazz standards.

With the exceptional level of interplay that characterize them, the band renders the African American spiritual “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me”, arranged by tenorist Arthur Rhames, with rock-steady tonalities and a riveting pose.

Even if not so strong as last year's King of Xhosa, London Live has an uplifting quality deriving from a rich combination of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic senses that also shows the generous and thoughtful temperament of Siegel’s compositional style. - Jazz Trail

"Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet - London Live"

Jeff "Siege" Siegel​ Quartet

No, I hadn't heard of Jeff Siegel​ either, but the American drummer leads a storming band. This live album was recorded on the last date of a European tour, so the quartet was well primed. Alas the gig was in London on the night of a tube strike, shrinking the audience, although, as often happens in the face of mutual adversity, band and listeners sound like they bonded all the more strongly. With Siegel​ are tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley​ and bassist Uli Langthaler​, and the collective language, in terms of compositions, improvisation and even saxophone sound, is often overtly post-Coltrane to a degree that would usually drive me to distraction. The energy that this quartet generates, however, sweeps away such thoughts on a tide of sheer elation. Aside from the originals (by Siegel​, Lindsay and Tanksley​) they cover Coltrane's​ majestic Peace on Earth, and then the excitement reaches its apotheosis on the traditional spiritual I Want Jesus to Walk with Me, which rides on a rolling groove as unstoppable as a mid-ocean swell, atop which both Tanksley​ and Lindsay build solos in which the rapture is underpinned by deeper truths. JOHN SHAND - Sydney Morning Herald


"Magical Spaces" - CAP Records
"Live in Europe - ARC Records



JEFF "SIEGE" SIEGEL - drums, percussion, composer

 A member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-‘99, Siegel’'s diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record w/ Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Shiela Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison,Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Ravi Coltrane, Ryan Kisor, Arturo O'Farrill, Arthur Rhames, Wadada Leo Smith, Baikida Carroll, Levin Bros. & more. He's co-led several touring/recording projects over the years. He teaches at The New School, SUNY New Paltz and WCSU. He's performed clinics throughout Europe, South America, China, South Africa and the United States. He holds a M.A. in Jazz from Queens College where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath and has  been the recipient of several grants from Meet the Composer. 


Fezile ‘Feya’ Faku a trumpeter, was born in New Brighton, a South African township in Port Elizabeth.  He completed a Performers Diploma in Jazz Studies at the University of Natal, South Africa. He has been associated with some of South Africa’s classic jazz musicians including Barney Rachabang, Thandie Klaasen, Duke Makasi. and Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, Abdullah Ibrahim, and is featured in Abdullah’s latest CD; “Made in South Africa”.He has recently completed the recording of a CD for the Mahube project.  Feya’s involvement is a demonstration of his dedication to Jazz as an evolving art form, based on the understanding and appreciation of its classic form.  He also tours with the group of Johannesburg All-Stars known as “Uhadi” thoroughout the U.S.

ERICA LINDSAY - Tenor Saxophone/composer

Erica Lindsay is an Artist-in- Residence at Bard College where she teaches  and is an active performer, arranger and composer. She's performed w/Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers,  Melba Liston Co.,Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Britt Woodman and Mary Lou Williams, McCoy Tyner, Clifford Jordon, Sumi Tonooka, Ted Curson, George Gruntz, Amira Baraka, Oliver Lake, Baikida Carroll, Howard Johnson and Jeff Siegel. Selected recordings include her first,  Dreamer, on Candid Records as well as recordings w/Baikida Carroll, Jeff Siegel and Oliver Lake.  She was selected to compose a piece for the American Composers Orchestra (Inner Dialogue) and then the Detroit Symphony (Mantra).   Recent recordings include, Initiation, a collaboration with Sumi Tonooka, featuring Rufus Reid and Further Explorations (The  Alchemy Sound Project).


Francesca has performed w/ such notable groups as the Billy Harper Quintet, the Erica Lindsay Quintet, the Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet throughout Europe, East and Southeast Asia, Scandinavia and South America as well as in the U.S.  She appears on numerous CD releases of these groups. Other leading musicians with whom Francesca Tanksley has performed include David Newman, Reggie Workman, Cecil Payne, Nick Brignola,  Slide Hampton, Jay Clayton, Melba Liston & Co., Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Cobb, Clifford Jordan, Charles Davis and more.  She's appeared at major jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S., including the Kool Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall with Dizzy Gillespie. She's an integral member of the Billy Harper Quintet, as well as the Erica Lindsay Quintet, Howard Johnson’s HoJo5, and the Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel Quartet.  Ms. Tanksley is a full-time Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston. 


Rich Syracuse has  performed with John Mehegen, Joey Calderazzo, Ted Rosenthal, Nick Brignola, Mose Allison, Kurt Elling, Dave Liebman, Brubeck Brothers, Warren Bernhardt, Sumi Tonoka, Bernard Purdy, Jeff "Siege" Siegel, Dena DeRose, John MedeskRi. For was the bassist for Pianist Lee Shaw for 22 years. Rich has for many years been touring throughout Europe, South America, and Southern Africa. Rich’s latest cd as a co-leader with guitarist Michael Musillami “Of the Night” is on Playscape Records.Rich is the Professor of Bass at Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York.


Performed w/Diana Ross (Central Park), Ben Vereen, John Stubblefield, Rashid Ali, Second Sight, James Spaulding, Arthur Rhames, Bernice Johnson Dance Co., Chuck Davis Dance Co., Akyene Baako Ensemble & many others. Currently teaching music in the NYC School system.