Paradigm Shift
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Paradigm Shift

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"Paradigm Shift, featuring Wycliffe Gordon"

It was even hotter at the RIJF Club Pass Big Tent.
In fact, right after opening with the song "Shifting Times," Paradigm Shift guitarist Melvin Henderson had to comment, "it's jungle hot up here."
Actually, the music was even more combustible.
That's because the band (a dream team of Henderson, organist Gerry Youngman and drummer Jared Schonig) was joined by a guy who defines hot - trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.
Gordon is in a class by himself, a musician who plays trombone with the fleet virtuosity of the flute, and together with Paradigm he produced the hardest-driving jazz of the night.

John Pitcher (D&C) - Democrat And Chronicle (June 2005)


Traditional Jazz Chart

#7, Paradigm Shift, Shifting Times (Nagel-Heyer Records)

Based on airplay reports in January provided by JAZZWEEK. - JAZZIZ (March 2005)

"Shifting Times (CD Review)"

A paradigm shift implies a move into a new framework, and so the organ trio Paradigm Shift is probably misnamed, as there is nothing particularly evolutionary about what it does. Shifting Times is, however, a captivating session of mainly original compositions that owes a great deal to the Blue Note soul jazz of the late '60s. Equal parts Jimmy Smith, Grant Green and Donald Byrd, Paradigm Shift does manage to pay homage without being completely imitative, and that is where the shift may come in; as reverential as Shifting Times is, it succeeds in feeling completely contemporary. Guitarist Melvin Henderson, organist Gerry Youngman (who also doubles on flugelhorn), and drummer Ted Poor make up Paradigm Shift, but they enlist the assistance of some high profile players to juice up a session that is, quite simply, a load of fun, with sumptuous grooves and solid playing from all. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon plays hard and heavy on four tracks, growling vigorously on “Sandu.” Trumpeter Marcus Printup jabs and parries with Gordon on the same track, plays it lyrical on the Crusaders-informed “Half a World Away,” and contributes a piercing muted solo on “First Shift.” Vibraphonist Joe Locke pays tribute to Bobby Hutcherson on “Yesterdays” and the slap-happy “Big Brother.”
Henderson is a capable player in the Grant Green vein, although there are smatterings of Kenny Burrell, and even Wes Montgomery, in what he does. His tone is clean and warm, and his ideas flow effortlessly, with a spare economy that occasionally lights a fire, as on the uptempo “Why Not Scrambled.” Youngman, an energetic and vivacious organist throughout the set, manages to play his flugelhorn brightly yet tenderly on “My Foolish Heart,” which finds him in duet with Henderson. Poor is a groove-centric drummer, equal parts swing and backbeat.
While Paradigm Shift may not break down any musical barriers, these players know how to have a good time, and that is evident throughout Shifting Times. There's a party atmosphere to the record that makes it an entertaining listen. Playful and unassuming, Shifting Times is the perfect music when you're looking for something to engage the body as well as the mind.
~ John Kelman (August, 2004)
- All About Jazz

"Shift Swings at Jazz Central"

The Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation, run by Syracuse Symphony Orchestra percussionist and CNY Jazz Orchestra member Larry Luttinger, opened its downtown Syracuse performance space Jazz Central last month. Tucked into small confines on 441 E. Washington St. (formerly the Smith Paint and Decorating Center), the venue has hosted local performances, rehearsals, workshops and poetry slams. Yet for all its community works, the foundation treated a two-set concert on Dec. 13 by the all-star quartet Paradigm Shift as an official unveiling.

By the admission of board member and executive vice president Doug Johnston, the show marked the first time that Jazz Central had presented "world-class musicians." Johnston took the opportunity to tell the 40 or so enthusiasts gathered that the non-profit plans to eventually install stadium-style rafters and hardwood stage flooring. For now, the space--which the foundation opened with the help of public and private grant money--resembles a tasteful cable-access television studio.

Yet this concert was meant to fuel dreams, and as dream shows go, Paradigm Shift satisfied its audience's craving. The band, which released its first album, Shifting Times (Nagel Heyer 2003), nationally earlier this month, was put together by Rochester's Mel Henderson Trio, featuring guitarist Mel Henderson, Gerry Youngman on electric piano and drummer Jared Schonig.

Through old and new friendships and connections within the jazz world, the trio was able to recruit a heavyweight front line. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and trumpet player Marcus Printup both enjoy tenure as members of New York City's Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra a.k.a. Wynton Marsalis' house band. Vibraphonist Joe Locke grew up in Rochester with Henderson and Youngman and is considered one of the foremost vibes players in the world. These are guys capable of running with whatever groove they are given and crafting adventurous and undeniably creative solos, from Henderson's funk workouts (the rumbling "Why Not Scrambled") to Youngman's light, romantic instrumentals (the exotic "Sanibel Breeze").

Henderson himself professed awe at the "lessons" his guests can teach. Locke mouths the distinct pings and rings of his solos, propelled at dizzying speed with four sticks, as if he's talking sweet nothings to his woman. The amazing Gordon can perform with just his mouthpiece, manipulating those higher sounds as if his slide were still in place. Printup can work his trumpet to practically talk, toying with acoustics and resonance as he goes along. Tellingly, while Henderson and Youngman smiled and laughed their way through the show, Gordon and Printup often looked stern, as if this were just another gig in a string of thousands.

Henderson often plays with saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and B-3 organ player Dr. Lonnie Smith and travels to Manhattan extensively. Between sets he said that a band of this nature, where any of five members can be the featured player and no one plays bass, can be a tricky venture. It's like taking a 1960s-era organ trio and exploding its margins, in Henderson's estimation: "You don't expect this configuration to be doing progressive jazz." The 49-year-old Henderson met Gordon by chance on a plane bound for Austria a few years back, creating the path toward Paradigm Shift.

Even without the superstars on board, the band's nontraditional lineup would be exciting. As proof, the group performed its agile cover of Stevie Wonder's fiery "Big Brother" in both sets. The first was a raucous funk-up, with Gordon, Printup, Locke and even Schonig taking turns at wall-shaking solos at song's end. The second run was much lighter and more supple, a perfect way to end the night, with the musicians giggling and performing the coda as much as a comedy routine as anything else. Still, they did so while deliberately running through the song's basic structure. Paradigm Shift made things look nearly as easy all night, something the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation hopes to do itself with increasing regularity at Jazz Central down the road.
- Christopher O'Connor - New Times, Syracuse (December 16, 2004)

"Paradigm Shift fills Jazz Central with a very cool vibe"

Rochester-based performers are a perfect fit for a cozy room in downtown Syracuse.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

By Mark Bialczak
Staff writer

A great vibe swung through Jazz Central on Monday night.
Fantastic trombone, scintillating trumpet, too.
The six pieces of Paradigm Shift took the new headquarters of the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation and made sure that the intimate showroom's first national showcase was memorable indeed.
The core trio of the Rochester-based band - guitarist Melvin Henderson, keyboardist Gerry Youngman and drummer Jared Schoenig - were joined by the trio of top-line New York City-based jazz men that joined them in the recording of the recently released disc "Shifting Times."
With Joe Locke on vibraphones, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and Marcus Printup on trumpet, they shared a half-dozen of the songs from that disc, which this week made the jazz album chart Top 10.
It was special stuff in the cozy room. There's still work to be done on completing a hardwood floor and constructing permanent seating. But already, the acoustics are warm.
From the opening cut, Clifford Brown's tasty "Sandu," to the jumping finale "First Shift," the band had the crowd bopping along.
For the first of two shows for the night, the four rows of chairs were filled with a wide array of ages, from scholastic jazz players right on up fans that have been enjoying jazz for many decades.
Henderson pointed out Liverpool High School senior drummer Greg Evans in the front row, telling all that Evans was outstanding when he played several gigs with Paradigm Shift last summer.
But this night belonged to the trombone magic of Gordon, trumpet majesty of Printup, vibraphones energy of Locke, guitar sweetness of Henderson, keyboard power of Youngman and solid drum lines of Schoenig.
"Playing with these guys is a real lesson," Henderson told the crowd. "You never know what's going on until they pick up their horns."
Gordon and Printup indeed showed why they've both been members of the prestigious Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
They made the most out of their solo time and fit into the ensemble passages like a glove, too.
On "Sandu," Gordon played a fast and funky trombone line, sounding like the hustle and bustle of a New Orleans street.
On "Shifting Times," Printup wah-wahed on his muted trumpet for some free-form, free-flowing jazz.
"It's a strange song, but I like it," Henderson said of the title cut of the album.
Henderson, Locke and Youngman grew up together in Rochester "say, 40 years ago," Henderson said. They've gone on to back great, big names in jazz. Henderson's worked for Al Jarreau and Roy Ayers; Youngman's worked for Chuck Mangione and Thad Jones; Locke has worked with Grover Washington Jr. and The Mingus Big Band, just to name a few for each.
Together, they showed a special jazz chemistry.
Locke was a dervish on the vibes on "Big Brother," whipping the mallets and mouthing sounds to himself non-stop while he works.
Henderson was smooth and golden on the guitar on "Yesterdays."
Youngman stood out with a whirling B-3 sound on a couple of love songs he wrote himself, "Sanibel Breeze" and "In My Life."
And the latest addition to the band, drummer Schoenig, seems to be a great find out of the Eastman School of Music in Henderson and Youngman's home town.

© 2004 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.
- The Post-Standard

"Sifting Times (CD Review)"

Unless you're from Rochester, NY, you've probably never heard of Paradigm Shift. With its first national release, Shifting Times, the organ-guitar-drums trio is ready to introduce the rest of the country to its upbeat brand of mainstream soul jazz. Paradigm Shift's core is guitarist Melvin Henderson and organist Gerry Youngman. Both men have spent time backing big names--Henderson behind folks like Al Jarreau and Roy Ayers, Youngman with Chuck Mangione, Gary Burton, and Thad Jones, to name a few. Since coming together as a unit in the late '80s, the duo has served as one of Rochester's most dependable bands, filling in with visiting artists like saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeter Marcus Printup, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. The new CD capitalizes on that shared history, with many of their headlining friends from the jazz world making guest appearances. Gordon and Locke get a workout on a funky version of Stevie Wonder's “Big Brother,” while Printup makes his presence felt on Clifford Brown's “Sandu” and the Youngman original “Half A World Away.”
Powering this aggregation is the powerful and assured drumming of Ted Poor. A recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Poor is already establishing himself on the New York City scene with Ben Monder and as a regular member of trumpeter Cuong Vu's band. He's a creative player who can find the “one” no matter where his drumming takes him. Write his name down; you'll be seeing it again.
While Shifting Times has a few standards--”Sandu,” Jerome Kern's “Yesterdays,” and ”My Foolish Heart”--the majority of the music was written by Henderson and Youngman. The organist's “Sanibel Breeze” slides a jaunty melody for trombone and organ over the chords of Frank Foster's “Shiny Stockings,” while Henderson shines as a writer on “Petra's Lament,” a tune written for his wife.
Paradigm Shift doesn't really shift any paradigms, but the group does have a great time playing fun music. If you like solid grooves, confident soloing and engaging melodies, join the folks in Rochester and become a fan of Shifting Times.
~ Jason Crane (September, 2004)

- All About Jazz


Shifting Times (2004) :: Nagel Heyer Records

Promise Street (2005) :: Trier Records
The Story Ends...The Story Begins (2003) :: Trier Records
both with The Bill Tiberio Group



Paradigm Shift is comprised of guitarist Melvin Henderson, organist Gerry Youngman and drummer Jared Schonig, three individual jazz musicians, who combine their diverse musical contrast, and original sensibilty into an energetic and dynamic grooving trio.

Paradigm Shift is the brainchild of Melvin Henderson, who plays traditional and contemporary jazz guitar. His influences among others are George Benson, Grant Green, and Wes Montgomery. After attending Berklee School of Music in the mid-seventies, Melvin performed in Boston and New York with his own group, the East West Band, which included Tommy Campbell on drums. In the early 80's Melvin toured and recorded with Al Jarreau, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Cheryl Lynn, Roy Ayers, to name just a few.

After returning to his hometown Rochester, New York, in the mid-eighties he opened up his own jazz club named Indigos. At Indigos, Melvin was able to present such jazz greats as Wynton Marsalis, Mel Lewis, Kenny Burrell, Joe Locke, Johnny Griffin, Barney Kessel, Joe Lovano, Mel Torme and many more. After two years of running Indigos, during which time Melvin had little time to perform, he closed Indigos and started playing full time again. In the following years Melvin shared the stage with such jazz greats as Jack McDuff, Clark Terry, Dr. Lonnie Smith, David 'Fathead' Newman and Houston Person while continuing to compose his own music.

Even though their path had crossed many times before, Gerry Youngman, who attended Berklee College of Music as a trumpeter, joined forces with Melvin in the late 80's. Prior to attending Berklee, Gerry studied with Rochester's Chuck Mangione, While at Berklee, under the direction of Phil Wilson, Gerry performed with Claudio Roditti, Mark Elf, Hal Crook, and others in the Thursday Night Dues Band. Gerry has shared the stage as both a trumpeter and organist with many top names in the jazz world, including Lou Donaldson, Gerry Niewood, Chuck Mangione, Dave Samuels, and the great Thad Jones. Gerry also contributes his original compositions to the bands repertoire.

The newest member, Jared Schonig is a 22 year-old drummer from Los Angeles, California, the son of two accomplished musicians. Jared attended an arts high school where he had the pleasure of performing with George Duke and Eric Marienthal.

After moving to Rochester to attend the Eastman School of music at age 18, he quickly gained notoriety in the Rochester jazz scene, performing with Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Dave Liebman, and others.

Jared is also a winner of 7 Downbeat Studio Music Awards. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2005, and now resides in NYC.