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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Branford Marsalis & New Stories"

"A piano trio is the art form pared down to it’s most balanced, perfect expression - a delight for purists. New Stories, who opened for Branford Marsalis at the spacious Opera House, form an outstanding, seasoned trio. They began pensively, and the vast audience, few of whom could have been familiar with them or their program of imaginative originals, hung on every note and responded mightily. In return, we were treated to a program of profound dynamic variety, great lyrical sweep and flow, and the true interaction that only the most talented working units can achieve. The standing ovation that closed the splendid set was a compliment to the remarkable sophistication of both audience and trio alike."
- Earshot Jazz Magazine


"New Stories Concert Review"

"The fecund Marc Seales, the powerhouse Doug Miller and the dynamic colorist John Bishop have become a group far greater than the sum of their very excellent parts. At times their music floated and at times it burned. New Stories river-like flow and shifting voices reward careful listening."
- Earshot Jazz Magazine


"New Stories at the Bellevue Jazz Festival"

"The ever-tasteful linear inventions of pianist Marc Seales were abetted magnificently as bassist Doug Miller grabbed an inspiration on the trio’s special arrangement of "Body & Soul" and walked away with it - and the crowd."
- Seattle Times


""Circled By Hounds" CD review"

"Why don't other acoustic bands play with this level of punch?...Thanks for reminding us that a non-electric jazz trio can play with grit."
- Cadence


"Best Of 2001 List"

"I’ll call this the "Best Spontaneous Combustion of the Year": saxophonist Denney Goodhew sitting in with the great trio New Stories...This music was as strong and magical as any I’ve heard, anywhere."
- Earshot Jazz Magazine


"The Music of Elmo Hope - CD Review"

This Elmo Hope revival project exudes class. It includes cameos by seven guest musicians (most notably producer/trumpeter Don Sickler and alto saxophonist Bobby Porcelli), but is defined by New Stories: pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop, who have constituted the best piano trio in Seattle, Wash., for 17 years.

Elmo Hope composed quirky, beautiful, unforgettable music, now all but lost in the shadows of history. Several of his own versions of the songs on Hope is in the Air are available on Trio and Quintet (Blue Note) - which, like New Stories' CD, was engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, 50 years apart. Hope "the piston-fingered" pianist (Ira Gitler's apt description) is able to make his own music, with it's uneven phrase lengths and odd chord movements, sound consonant. New Stories goes further, subtly rounding Hope's material into overt elegance, while remaining true to its spirit. Hope's own "Stars Over Marrakech" is tight and declarative. Marc Seales lets it float and hover, aloft on the updraft created by John Bishop's restless mallets, it's mystery unexplained. "Carving the Rock" is a classically convoluted Hope line, transformed into luminous fluidity by Bobby Porcelli.

Elmo Hope's life was troubled and short, yet he left us songs like "Dee-Dah" - pure, ascending affirmations of the soul. (New Stories makes "Dee-Dah" pop.) Hope Is In The Air is a valuable rediscovery of a unique American composer. - JazzTimes


"Elmo Hope CD Review"

Every summer at the Pt. Townsend Jazz Festival, I'm blown away by the brilliance of Seattle's New Stories.

The piano trio featuring Marc Seales and his rhythm team of bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop are joined by New York heavyweights such as Don Dickler and Bobby Porcelli on a recently released tribute to the music of Elmo Hope called Hope Is In The Air (Origin).

Produced by Sickler and recorded by Rudy Va Gelder at the legendary Van Gelder Recording Studio in New Jersey, the CD is a showcase for New Stories' rhythmic sophistication and Hope's complex, mysterious compositions.

Hope died in 1967 at age 43, a too-little-known jazz giant closely associated with fellow bop legends Bud Powell and Thelonius Monk. This CD will go a long way toward re-establishing his importance as a composer.

New Stories playfully generate their trademark rubbery swing throughout, with Seales' minimalist keyboard lyricism driven by Bishop and Miller's subtle rhythmic accents.

Porcelli's alto sax contributes Bird-inspired, angular bop, and Sickler's thoughtful trumpet and flugelhorn add another tart voice to a couple of tracks that also feature Hope's widow, Bertha, on piano.

On This Sweet Sorrow, vocalist Roberta Gambarini is joined by the New York trio of Ronnie Matthews, Peter Washington and Kenny Washington. It's a spooky reinvention of Hope's Barfly.

It all adds up to a modern jazz classic by an important Seattle-based band and a crew of the Big Apple's jazz elite. Highest recommendation.
- Victoria Times Colonist


"Elmo Hope CD Review"

The Seattle-based trio New Stories—with a little help from some friends, and under the producer's baton of trumpeter Don Sickler—has crafted a first rate document to the undersung bop composer/pianist Elmo Hope on Hope is in the Air.

Elmo Hope, back in bop's early days, hung with piano legends Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. According to Nellie Monk, he was Thelonious's favorite contemporary composer, though the sound presented here, especially on the uptempo numbers, seems much closer to Powell's, with a real “Bud Bounce” on the bright “Dee-Dah.”

New Stories—pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller, and drummer John Bishop—freshen up this set of bop jewels while maintaining the musical spirit and sense of experimentation and wonder of the early days of bebop. They open the disc with “Sims A Plenty,” with Bobby Porcelli sitting in on alto saxophone, blowing with a freewheeling finesse on this uptempo romp. Seven of the fourteen tunes are trio workouts, ranging from the bright and upbeat “Dee-Dah” to the hauntingly, delicately gorgeous ballad “Stars Over Marrakech,” which features some of drummer John Bishop's subtle yet complex colorings. Indeed, the New Stories Trio, on the two back-to-back ballads “Eyes So Beautiful As Yours” and “Stars...”, serve up the disc's pensively engaging ten-minute highlight, sounding searchingly abstract and, remarkably, almost impossibly cohesive.

Altoist Porcelli sits in on three more numbers besdies the opener, and producer Sickler duets with pianist Bertha Hope—Elmo's widow—on the two closers, “Monique” and Three Silver Quarters.” And slip in Roberta Gambarini's bittersweet vocals on “This Sweet Sorrow,” known instrumentally as “Barfly,” and you've got a good feeling for Elmo Hope's marvelous but almost forgotten music.
- All About Jazz


"New Stories & Elmo Hope - CD Review"

"This recording reveals that Elmo Hope was an important composer of great depth and originality, rivalling Monk himself, and for that we owe Don Sickler and New Stories an everlasting debt. There is not a weak track on this CD, though there is plenty of variety, including performances by Sickler and alto saxophonist Bobby Porcelli....Thank goodness for small, independent record companies such as Origin, which can remain viable by releasing niche-audience product like this one. If you love really good jazz you will love this CD."
- amazon.com


"Live review - The Music of Elmo Hope"

"Elmo Hope, friend and inspiration to Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, died at 43 in 1967. In their counterpoise of complexity and grace, his songs make you think of Tadd Dameron. But Hope’s music develops according to its own rules, with unexpected chord resolutions and uneven forms. It is tricky, challenging stuff, but Don Sickler and his colleagues made it look easy.

Sickler’s years of research into Hope’s musical legacy led to a recent recording project on the Origin label, Hope Is in the Air, with Seattle’s best rhythm section, New Stories (Marc Seales, Doug Miller and John Bishop). The band that played the festival was the one from the Origin album, with Sickler on trumpet and flugelhorn, but Brent Jensen on alto saxophone instead of Bobby Porcelli. Their set was six Hope tunes, all different, all elegant. Sickler was crisp and articulate and Jensen’s solos were flowing and seamless. But the highlight was a trio piece, “Stars Over Marrakech,” a haunting, hovering escalation, driven slowly heavenward by John Bishop’s drums."

- JazzTimes


Discography

New Stories, "Hope is in the Air: The Music of Elmo Hope" Origin
New Stories with Ernie Watts, "Speakin' Out" Origin
New Stories, "Remember Why" Origin
New Stories, "Circled By Hounds" Origin
Don Lanphere, "Where Do You Start?" Origin
Don Lanphere & New Stories, "Home At Last" Origin
Don Lanphere/Bud Shank, "Lopin'" HEP
Don Lanphere/Pete Christlieb, "Get Happy" Origin
Don Lanphere, "Don Still Loves Midge" HEP
Mark Murphy, "Song For The Geese" RCA
"Repertoire: A Starbuck's Collection of Unforgettable Piano Jazz" Universal Music
Lynn Bush with New Stories, "Still Life" Origin
Brent Jensen/Rob Walker & New Stories, "Art of the Groove" Origin
Yasukuni Terashima presents "Jazz Bar 2002" DIW Records (Tokyo)

Photos

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Bio

"An impeccable rhythm section..." JazzTimes. Since their inception in 1988, Seattle-based New Stories has divided it's time between performing as a trio and as the backup group to some of the greatest names in jazz. They have four critically acclaimed CDs of their own, six with be-bop saxophone great Don Lanphere, and a Grammy nominated effort for RCA with singer Mark Murphy. The trio has been a house group for 17 years at Bud Shank's Pt. Townsend Jazz Festival, performed at the JVC Jazz Festival in Vladivostok, Russia, appeared in concert with Tom Harrell, Nick Brignola, Charles McPherson, Jane Monheit, Conte Condoli, Bobby Shew, Jon Faddis, & Larry Coryell, and regularly do concerts and clinics at colleges & clubs around the country by themselves or in appearances with Don Lanphere, Mark Murphy or Ernie Watts. Their music has been included on an internationally released compilation CD for Universal Music entitled: "Repertoire: A Starbuck's Collection of Unforgettable Piano Jazz," and is included as a sample in the Windows XP Operating System, appearing in every new PC computer over the last 4 years. Their 4th CD, "Hope Is In The Air: The Music Of Elmo Hope," was produced by Don Sickler, recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, and was recently # 6 on the JazzWeek national airplay charts where it spent 13 weeks. "New Stories can define fire & funkiness, but they are just as persuasive and riveting in impressionistic explorations." - Earshot Jazz.

MARC SEALES

A noted pianist and composer, Marc Seales has shared the stage with many of the great players in the last two decades. For 18 years he was in the bands of the late bop legend Don Lanphere, with whom he toured Europe and recorded ten albums, most featuring Seales’ compositions. In concerts, festivals & clubs, his band mates in recent years have included Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, Larry Coryell, Bobby Hutcherson, Slide Hampton, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Art Farmer, Jackie McLean, Clark Terry, Art Pepper and Frank Morgan. Seales is a Professor of Music and head of the jazz department at the University of Washington. Seales is listed in the 1999 edition of Ira Gitler's Encyclopedia of Jazz and he was voted Northwest Instrumentalist of the Year 1999 by Earshot Jazz.

DOUG MILLER

Doug Miller has been one of the first call bassists in the clubs, concert halls and studios of the Northwest for 18 years. Originally from Indiana, he spent several years in New York City working with the likes of Mel Lewis, Scott Hamilton and Doc Cheatam. He's performed with some of the world’s greatest jazz players including James Moody, The Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, George Cables, Dick Berk, Jimmy McPartland, The Count Basie Orchestra and Dick Hyman. He has toured internationally with the Ellington Band and with Ernestine Anderson. He is also an active educator and is on the faculty of the University of Washington.

JOHN BISHOP

John Bishop's drumming has been one of the primary voices in Northwest Jazz for over 20 years. He has performed with Bobby McFerrin, Larry Coryell, Bobby Hutcherson, George Cables, Carla Bley, Joanne Brackeen, Slide Hampton, Kenny Werner, Benny Golson, Steve Swallow, Kenny Rankin, Jack Sheldon, Herb Ellis, Diane Schuur, Tom Harrell and countless others. He's recorded over 70 albums and videos including sessions involving Rudy Van Gelder, Teo Macero, Ralph Towner, Bud Shank, Howard Roberts, Julian Priester & Ernie Watts. He has also appeared in a dozen educational videos for REH/Warner Bros. In 1997, Bishop formed Origin Records, a jazz record label and OriginArts, a CD production/design house, to help further the exposure of creative jazz artists and their music. With over 100 CD releases and the concerts, festivals & events they've helped to create, OriginArts has become one of the premier jazz organizations on the West Coast.