Phoenix Rising
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Phoenix Rising

San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Band World Acoustic

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"Review + Testimonials"

REVIEW EXCERPTS/TESTIMONIALS

"Artistic director, pianist and composer Wendy Loomis paints with a broad palette of jazz, classical, new age, avant garde and world colors, fusing styles ranging from Debussy to Thelonius Monk." (Kelley Dolan, Bella Online Music Critic)


"Thanks for your CD...Piano and Friends. Very nice! Especially your solo (thoroughly 20th - 21st Century pieces... ) the ones that 'classical types' would appreciate. Survival, M/F1, M/F2, M/F3." (Ricard de la Rosa, Pro Piano)

"Keep up the great work Wendy. You bring us all a great gift with your creativity and musical talent. Your piano sings as in conversation with the piece that's being performed. Brilliant, just brilliant. I'd love to see this as a new era of music!?!?!" (Marianne L., Massage Therapist)

“Thanks for a night of tremendous performance…i love u guys & appreciate u to the highest degree. u're a tremendous composer, Wendy. i really dug that Phoenix Rising piece. Monica is not just an ass-kick flutist, she's a visual dreamboat to look at. imagistically, the two of u project something that implies feminine power...” (ramu aki, Producer Café International Friday night series)
- Various


"Start Your Day with Phoenix Rising's "Spirit Jazz Suite""

by cyndi combs

I first heard Phoenix Rising at Listen & Be Heard Poetry Café last month, and I was impressed. Wendy Loomis is the composer/pianist and Monica Williams plays flute. They are delightful performers and extraordinarily talented. I was instantly and completely enthralled by the mythic quality of their music.

Monica received her classical training outside of Chicago. Her first solo performance with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra came at age 15. She plays with Copus, a spoken word, jazz group based in San Francisco, and teaches music at the Civic Arts of Walnut Creek and at the Copus Studio in San Francisco. All this, and she still has time to work with Wendy in Phoenix Rising.

Wendy earned a B.A. from Denison University and her M.S. in Education from Syracuse University. Besides her work with Monica, Wendy is also the artistic director, composer, and pianist with Copus and has taught music in Massachusetts and New York. She is currently teaching in Tiburon and San Francisco.

Their debut CD, Whispers, is inspiring. Though the music transcends classification, you’ll find it listed as New Classical/Jazz. It definitely has a classical influence, as I swear I can hear George Gershwin in Wendy’s piano playing. But then the haunting melodies of Monica’s flutes are reminiscent of Native American spiritual music. Stir that combination with jazz and just a sprinkling of spoken word, and you’ve got the delicious blend of Whispers cooked up by Phoenix Rising.

An excellent choice for the first song on the CD was "spirit jazz." I find it motivational and keep it in the CD player that I use as an alarm clock. That way it’s the first thing I hear in the morning and I feel uplifted and inspired to start my day on a high note. The “phoenix rising suite” is my favorite song. I find it timeless in that way that you can hear it repeatedly and never tire of it because it always manages to sound fresh. “As the leaves are dancing” is exhilarating and meditational at the same time. It reminds me of the type of song a cascading creek would play, if it played flute rather than water on stones. The fun and funky "whispers of love" rounds out the amazing 12 song set.

Whispers is perfect while working, enjoying your morning coffee, making love, or just about anything else your life entails. The CD cover aptly proclaims it, “Conscious music and lyrics for the intelligent listener.” For more information, or to book the band, contact Wendy at: copusqueen@earthlink.net.

Buy Whispers online at: www.delvianrecords.com/html/phoenix_rising.html.


www.listenandbeheard.net
- Listen + Be Heard


"Ascension Review"

The title track for Phoenix Rising’s “Ascension” begins with an emotionally dense composition that plays heavily in a classical style, but does not have any of the stuffiness or must associated with the classical style. Rather, what Phoenix Rising does during this track is weave a rich narrative through the entirety of the track’s 7 minute runtime.

For the act, there does not need to be anything vocal present; the intrepid and talented arrangements that act as guideposts for listeners here ensure that a vocal side to Phoenix Rising is not needed at this juncture. For individuals that may have been educated on the virtues of vocal music, purchasing a copy of “Ascension” is vital to increase the appreciation that one can have for music. I know that I am typically not a fan of instrumental music, but what is done with each of the album’s seven cuts is glorious, providing the listener with heady music that will require multiple spins before that time when they can truly get everything that the members of Phoenix Rising have included on “Ascension”. There may only be seven tracks on “Ascension”, but do not let it seem as if Phoenix Rising is just riding out a few themes. Rather, the extended length of the tracks on “Ascension” allow Phoenix Rising to essentially expand on different topics and themes to their logical conclusion, rather than being forced to cram in a brief array of thoughts and feelings into a space that is decidedly too short for it.

Furthermore, the tracks on “Ascension” have links between each other, as well to the conception of the album itself. That is to say, the thoughts and emotions touched on during “Creation” constituent an album-wide phenomenon, which means that for full enjoyment, listeners should secret themselves away to a quiet room and fully enjoy what has been committed to disc by the members of Phoenix Rising. When I am looking for a clean and crisp set of compositions, “Ascension” will be the first album that I reach for. I eagerly anticipate the band’s future recordings, if not only to see the new ground the act will touch upon in the years to come.

Top Tracks: Nourishment, Insight

Rating: 8.8/10

Phoenix Rising – Ascension / 2009 Self / 7 Tracks
- NeuFutur Magazine


"Whispers Review"

A press release that Delvian Records sent out with Whispers described this 2005 release as "a film score awaiting a film." All too often, labels get so caught up in their own hype that they make statements in press releases that are far removed from reality. But in the case of Whispers, the phrase "a film score awaiting a film" does have some validity; there are times when this 54-minute CD -- like a lot of new age releases -- really does sound like it could be used as a soundtrack for some type of European art film. But Whispers isn't new age in the strict sense; actually, the music that acoustic pianist/composer Wendy Loomis and flutist Monica Williams (who comprise the Bay Area duo Phoenix Rising) provide on this disc is essentially acoustic post-bop jazz that has been influenced by European classical and chamber music as well as some of the more substantial new age recordings. Whispers can, at times, be slightly avant-garde, but for the most part, Loomis and Williams are lyrical and fairly accessible -- and the type of jazz improvisers who have had the greatest influence on this duo are folks like Keith Jarrett and Ahmad Jamal, not radically avant-garde free jazz agitators. Despite being an American duo and having a lot of American influences, Phoenix Rising often projects a European quality; again, it isn't hard to imagine parts of this album being used in an artsy film from Spain, Italy, Belgium, or France. Although a bit uneven, Whispers has more ups than downs and indicates that Phoenix Rising is worth keeping an eye on.

~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
- All Music Guide


"Ascension"

“One of the more interesting releases so far this year, Ascension from Phoenix Rising (pianist Wendy Loomis and flutist Monica Williams) musically “interprets” the seven charkas using an assortment of acoustic instruments played by both the duo and six different guest artists. Despite this “mixed bag” approach, the CD’s musical theme is manifested by the presence of Loomis (who composed the tracks) and Williams (who arranged them). Other artists on the CD are Jennifer Lim on guzheng, Debra Podjed on tabla, Jessica Styler on hang drum, Suellen Primose on cello, Irina Mikhailova on vocals, and Karen Segal on guitar. You can tell by these diverse global instruments that the album bears some world music influences, but overall this is better described as contemporary acoustic music. Or you could simply say these eight women craft music of warmth and beauty that touches the heart and soul with gentleness and grace. Either way, Ascension is a musical delight to be cherished.” ~Bill Binkelman - New Age Retailer


"New Age Retailer- Ascension"

“One of the more interesting releases so far this year, Ascension fromPhoenix Rising (pianist Wendy Loomis and flutist Monica Williams)musically “interprets” the seven charkas using an assortment of acousticinstruments played by both the duo and six different guest artists. Despite this “mixed bag” approach, the CD’s musical theme is manifested bythe presence of Loomis (who composed the tracks) and Williams (whoarranged them). Other artists on the CD are Jennifer Lim on guzheng,Debra Podjed on tabla, Jessica Styler on hang drum, Suellen Primose oncello, Irina Mikhailova on vocals, and Karen Segal on guitar. You cantell by these diverse global instruments that the album bears some worldmusic influences, but overall this is better described as contemporaryacoustic music. Or you could simply say these eight women craft music ofwarmth and beauty that touches the heart and soul with gentleness andgrace. Either way, Ascension is a musical delight to be cherished.” ~Bill Binkelman - New Age Retailer


"4 New Reviews for Ascension"

http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p05384.htm


A septet of chamber instrumentals with a strong New Age / modernist classical bent, Ascension is a blend tying long centuries together in a formula that sanctifies tradition while refreshing it. Phoenix Rising is a duo (Wendy Loomis, piano, and Monica Williams, flute) from Oakland whose sound has appealed even to the well-known Ron Dellums, mayor of the city. Almost every cut features a revolving roster of individual guests on tabla, cello, hang drum, guzheng, guitar, vocals and…goat hooves!
The opener, Seed, is a cross between oriental and gaelic sounds, the prime melody deriving from an old song written in China somewhere between 1368 and 1644 A.D. Creation features a marvelously shakahuchi-ish flute solo atop tablas early in its development, with a Moody Blues / Oregon (ca Winter's Light) piano elegantly displacing the wind instrument only to have the two come together in a Towner / McCandless fashion. As things progress, every cut reveals beautiful teamwork in composure and arrangements, the end result being a testament to thought and precision.
Ascension is music for a darkened room with candles or in a recital room, a place where visual input will be minimized and the listener drawn to the cartography of the songs themselves. The recordings are spacious and pristine, allowing all notes their way while using the studio as a warmly quiescent backdrop. Don't come to the disc with the frenzy of the outside world, you'll miss too much.
http://musiczeitgeist.com/artist-profile-phoenix-rising/
Despite the stereotypes that surround musical categories like New Age and Contemporary, they encapsulate a very broad range of styles and motivations indeed. Phoenix Rising out of the Bay Area brings us a neo-classical, lyrical style that is both haunting and refreshing for its very defiance of stereotypes. Beautifully recorded, their latest release Ascension has as much to do with Lisa Gerrard and Penguin Cafe Orchestra as it does with Deuter and Enya.
So let’s toss the categorical record store baggage aside and listen to what Phoenix Rising is all about.
MZ: Who?
Phoenix Rising is Wendy Loomis (composer/pianist), Monica Williams (flute), and one revolving guest artist (guzheng, guitar, drums, percussion, violin, cello or viola).
MZ: What?
PR: Each track on our CD is representational of one of the seven chakras. Many people have developed systems that associate colors and tones with each chakra. We decided not to be quite so literal in our interpretation, but rather incorporate the idea of energy rising from our most earthly, primal instincts up toward our higher, nobler, spiritual realm – the eternal quest to ascend toward the Higher Power. Thus, ASCENSION was born.


Seven is a lucky and inspiring number that is threaded through ASCENSION: there are seven tones in a scale, the compositions are in seven different key signatures, the music is played on seven primary instruments, Monica was born in ’77, and this is the seventh CD of Wendy’s music. We arranged arranged the flute and piano sounds in a weave with instruments from around the world played by a group of very talented women: Jennifer Lim on guzheng (China); Debra Podjed on tabla (India) and goat hooves (Bolivia); Jessica Styler on hang drum (Switzerland); Suellen Primost on cello (Italy); Irina Mikhailova on voice (born in Russia); and Karen Segal on guitar (Spain/the Middle East).


MZ: Why?


PR: We are living in a time of stress and struggle. There is still hunger, hatred, and sickness in a world that is also filled with such beauty, generosity, and harmony. We wanted to create a CD that had the power to help people relax, de-stress, and energize with positive vibrations of gratitude for this life.


MZ: Until When?


PR: We feel there will always be a need for powerful music, and therfore will continue producing CDs and performing. Our goal now is to perform in more concert and performing arts series around the world, incorporating more multimedia into our shows and also offering our talents to the world for film scoring. We both love the Ascension project and are so happy that our fans and new listeners are responding so positively to its hope and healing. We know when listeners put the record on, they’ll feel better and let the energy that’s there become a part of their spirits. Just as we named ourselves Phoenix Rising as an expression of rising above the personal challenges we have faced in our lives, Ascension is reflective of the new mood of America as we move into the next administration. Even if times are hard, we’re taking a creative stand and putting good things into the world.


MZ: Where?

PR: San Francisco. Originally we met as members of the larger spoken word and music ensemble Copus, which was co-founded by Wendy and Bay Area poet Royal Kent.

In November 2008, Phoenix Rising attended the Hollywood Music Awards as nominees in the new age/ambient music category. The HMA is the only red carpet style event of its kind in the world that celebrates music in new visual mediums and gives equal attention to signed and unsigned artists. Our music is currently contracted by ten TV and film licensing companies and can be heard in several films.

Click here: http://skopemag.com/2009/02/12/ascension-phoenix-rising
Phoenix Rising is made up of pianist/composer, Wendy Loomis and flutist/arranger, Monica Williams. Together, the two musicians make exquisite music that draws from new age, classical, world influences and even jazz. Ascension is perceived as leading toward a higher power, light or energy. Each song is purposely played one key higher than the previous track to accentuate the musical journey from beginning to end. The sound is extremely spiritual and relaxing as compared to a tranquil waterfall. Just sit back, kick off your shoes and enjoy the soothing sensations of Phoenix Rising in Ascension.
The album is 100% geared toward relieving stress, relaxing, yoga and meditation. The idea for the record actually came to Williams during one of her yoga classes. The result is a highly insightful peace with much material to ponder on. The chemistry between Loomis on piano and Williams on flute is nothing short of impeccable.
The record offers a very multicultural/worldly vibe, which takes you on a ride through foreign soil. The first installment, “Seed”, offers a Far East feel with Jennifer Lim playing the guzheng (Chinese harp). The overall effect can be heard as a world filled with magic and wonder. The next song, “Creation”, supplies an Indian tabla played by Debra Podjed. This exotic instrument adds an element of tribal being with Williams and Loomis at the helm. Here they are putting the listener in a state of relaxation in almost a subconscious fashion. “Nourishment” provides a Swiss hang drum played by Jessica Styler and Sueellen Primost brings the cello into perspective on “Heartstrings”. Also, worth noting that on “Heartstrings”, Loomis really captures the song’s true emotion early on through her piano playing. On “Unspoken”, Russian vocalist Irina Mikhailova adds wordless speech that is so compelling yet quite mystique at the same time.
By the end of the album, both Wendy Loomis and Monica Williams bring it all together nicely. On the closing track, “Ascension”, the duo play together beautifully without any accompaniment. The two spiritual ladies enter the final phase of the ascension by the end and done with such elegance. The music seems to be taking off and lifting up spirits high beyond our grasps.
For more on the Bay Area based duo, SKOPE out www.myspace.com/bayareacontemporarymusic.
By Jimmy Rae
Rating:

http://neufutur.com/?p=6701


The title track for Phoenix Rising’s “Ascension” begins with an emotionally dense composition that plays heavily in a classical style, but does not have any of the stuffiness or must associated with the classical style. Rather, what Phoenix Rising does during this track is weave a rich narrative through the entirety of the track’s 7 minute runtime.


For the act, there does not need to be anything vocal present; the intrepid and talented arrangements that act as guideposts for listeners here ensure that a vocal side to Phoenix Rising is not needed at this juncture. For individuals that may have been educated on the virtues of vocal music, purchasing a copy of “Ascension” is vital to increase the appreciation that one can have for music. I know that I am typically not a fan of instrumental music, but what is done with each of the album’s seven cuts is glorious, providing the listener with heady music that will require multiple spins before that time when they can truly get everything that the members of Phoenix Rising have included on “Ascension”. There may only be seven tracks on “Ascension”, but do not let it seem as if Phoenix Rising is just riding out a few themes. Rather, the extended length of the tracks on “Ascension” allow Phoenix Rising to essentially expand on different topics and themes to their logical conclusion, rather than being forced to cram in a brief array of thoughts and feelings into a space that is decidedly too short for it.


Furthermore, the tracks on “Ascension” have links between each other, as well to the conception of the album itself. That is to say, the thoughts and emotions touched on during “Creation” constituent an album-wide phenomenon, which means that for full enjoyment, listeners should secret themselves away to a quiet room and fully enjoy what has been committed to disc by the members of Phoenix Rising. When I am looking for a clean and crisp set of compositions, “Ascension” will be the first album that I reach for. I eagerly anticipate the band’s future recordings, if not only to see the new ground the act will touch upon in the years to come.


Top Tracks: Nourishment, Insight


Rating: 8.8/10


Phoenix Rising – Ascension / 2009 Self / 7 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/bayareacontemporarymusic


- Acoustic Fame


Discography

"Ascension" released Feb. 2009.
"Whispers" released June 2005.
Both CDs are under the Copus Music indie label and available at:
www.cdbaby.com/phoenixrising
www.myspace.com/bayareacontemporarymusic
www.wendyloomis.com

Photos

Bio

FOR FESTIVAL SUBMISSIONS:
Please see VIDEO page for most recent percussive/ambient recording mixes with visuals.
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RECENT ACCLAIM:

*'Ascension' CD and 'Mystic Places' both placed in the top 20 of Zone Reporter Charts for over 7 months. Albums played on satellite, analog and online radio in multiple countries.

* "Ascension' nominated for best acoustic album of the year by L.A. Music Awards.

*'Ascension' nominated for 'best new age' and 'best classical/orchestral' by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

*'Mystic Places' nominated for best World Song by Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

*'Seed nominated for Best New Age Song by the Independent Music Awards'

PRESS HIGHLIGHT:

“Despite the stereotypes that surround musical categories like New Age and Contemporary, Phoenix Rising encapsulates a very broad range of styles and motivations indeed. Phoenix Rising out of the Bay Area brings us a neo-classical, lyrical style that is both haunting and refreshing for its very defiance of stereotypes. Beautifully recorded, their latest release Ascension has as much to do with Lisa Gerrard and Penguin Cafe Orchestra as it does with Deuter and Enya.”- (Iguhuaran, MusicZeitgeist.com)

Phoenix Rising is comprised of Wendy Loomis (composer/pianist), Monica Williams (Traditional and World Flutes), and guest artists including percussionists Bill/Debra Podjed/Jessica Skyler, singers Irina Mikhailova and Barbara Jaspersen, cellist Suellen Primost, guitarist Karen Segal, and guzheng player Jennifer Lim. They incorporate their large collection of ethnic flutes and percussion instruments from all over the world, making Phoenix Rising one of the most innovative and versatile ensembles in the Bay Area. India's bamboo bansuri flute is hardly a jazz instrument, but that doesn't stop Wendy Loomis from writing original jazz pieces for bansuri and piano. Phoenix Rising combines aspects of new age, world, classical, and jazz styles into their music bringing magnificent scenes capes of light and energy to audiences of all demographics.

BIO:

In 2009 Phoenix Rising was nominated for ‘best acoustic album’ by the LA Music Awards, ‘best new age’ and ‘best classical album’ by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, and was a finalist in the Unisong International Competition. They are also on the Offical 2009 Grammy Ballot for ‘best new age artist’ Their music can be heard on 100s of analog, internet and satellite programs nationally and internationally. In February, ‘Ascension’ topped the charts, according to Zone Reporters, and it is still in the top 100 charts 9 months after the releas. Zone Reporter is the Industry Source for New Age, World, Ambient, Electronic, Solo Piano, Relaxation, Instrumental and many other genres of music.

The variety of music Phoenix Rising brings to the table has enabled them to perform at street festivals, concert halls, galleries, and clubs all over the United States. Some of their tours stops include San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Austin, Nashville, Monterey, San Diego, Boston, and New York.

In addition to performing Wendy and Monica teach piano and flute at various schools and private studios throughout the Bay Area. Phoenix Rising also presents workshops on Native American flutes and drums to private and public events. Both musicians share a passion for not only creating music, but sharing their knowledge with the young and the young at heart.

TESTIMONIALS:

“Thank you both for playing for our Sunday event. You sounded great. Your professional training was clear when you hit the deck ( stage) running & with full presence despite your arduous, round-about journey to wildwood farm.......Your music carried all the way through out the grounds.”- Sara, Wildwood Farms Earth Day Festival

“Despite being an American duo and having a lot of American influences, PHOENIX RISING often projects a European quality ... it isn't hard to imagine parts of this album being used in an artsy film from Spain, Italy, Belgium, or France. (Alex Henderson, All Music Guide)

Band Members