Available August 13, 2013
David Weiss - Conductor & Trumpet; Tim Green - Alto Sax, Marcus Strickland - Tenor & Soprano Sax, Ravi Coltrane - Tenor Sax, Norbert Stachel - Baritone Sax & Bass, Clarinet; Diego Urcola & Jeremy Pelt - Trumpet; Joe Fiedler & Steve Davis - Trombone; Geri Allen - Piano; Dwayne Burno - Bass; E.J. Strickland - Drums.
CD Release Celebration at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola - August 22-25!
Weiss writes tunes with evocative melodic ambivalence and veering surprises and hovering pedal points and metrical asymmetry, all qualities associated with the sensibility that Wayne Shorter brought to jazz. But Weiss does not repeat it, he expands upon it." Thomas Conrad, DownBeat Magazine
Trumpeter, composer, arranger, bandleader David Weiss distinguishes himself by consistently coming to the table equipped with all the vital ingredients to make exciting, world-class music; knowledge, expertise, and a deeply-rooted, rock-solid foundation, gleaned from years of hard work and an admirable resume of long-term associations with some of jazz's quintessential figures. These elements, plus the less tangible factor of his enthusiastic reverence for this music combined with a drive to always push the music forward, have become cornerstones of his work, both in the studio and on stage. Such is the case with the New Jazz Composers Octet ("sound of the new jazz mainstream" - Ben Ratliff, The New York Times), The Point Of Departure Quintet, and The Cookers (which began more than ten years ago and has morphed into one of the most respected working bands in jazz today). And, such is the case with another very special project that has, as Weiss explains, taken on a life of its own," Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter, a twelve piece mini big-band devoted to reimagining the music of jazz's greatest living composer, and approaching his music the way he would/does, as an ever-changing, ever-evolving body of work. The band's self-titled debut CD, recorded before a live audience during a weeklong engagement in 2012 at the intimate Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in the Jazz at Lincoln Center facility, is scheduled for release on Motéma Records to coincide with Wayne's 80th Birthday this August.
Endangered Species began as a mini big band comprised of artists that were all recording for the same record label. The idea was to focus on a legendary composer and arrange his music for this twelve-piece band assembled for the occasion. Weiss chose Wayne Shorter as he admittedly always looks for an excuse to delve further into Shorter's music. He explains, I consider Wayne to be one of the most important composers in the history of this music and arguably the greatest living composer we have today in jazz. I also thought a composer of such breadth and scope should have an ensemble devoted to re-examining, expounding and expanding his music. I think we did our first gig in 2004 or 2005. I was able to pull together six or seven charts for the first gig and was happy with the results so I wanted to continue the project and see what it could develop into. We did a few gigs a year after that and I would always try to add a new arrangement or two for every gig. In 2012, we did a week at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in conjunction with the master himself performing that same week in one of the concert venues at JALC, which resulted in this CD."
The music on Endangered Species spans nearly half a century of Shorter's prolific career. My goal with this band was to present music from every era of Wayne's lengthy, diverse career; from his Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers days, through his stint with Miles Davis, his electric years and up to his most current quartet," said Weiss. That extraordinary breadth of music could not be captured on one disc, but the compositions on this CD include an incredible collection of Shorter compositions, including Nellie Bly", Eva" and Mr. Jin" (from his time with Art Blakey), Fall" (recorded with Miles Davis) and Prometheus Unbound" (one of his more recent compositions). Joining Weiss on this recording is a flat-out stellar cast of musicians: Geri Allen, Ravi Coltrane, Jeremy Pelt, Diego Urcola, Marcus Strickland, Tim Green, Joe Fiedler, Steve Davis, Norbert Stachel, Dwayne Burno and E.J. Strickland.
For the uber-talented native New Yorker, arranging is a tricky proposition. It's never Weiss' intention to put himself on the same plane as the original composer, or to put his stamp on the music, but rather to embellish and orchestrate until people can, even more fully appreciate the depth and beauty of the writing," explained Weiss. He continued, the challenge is to see what can I do to this music so it will have the same strong impact it had when these giants were first playing it. My intention here is to say, 'Look at these great tunes. How can I make the point even more emphatically that this is some heavy, beautiful writing?" says the intrepid leader of Endangered Species. He makes a very persuasive argument indeed on the ensemble's superb debut.
When asked about his various projects, David Weiss was quoted in DownBeat Magazine as saying, The New Jazz Composers Octet is for writing, Point of Departure is for playing, and The Cookers is for getting my ass kicked." Endangered Species is clearly the project he does out of sheer love and respect for Wayne Shorter's music.
More on David Weiss - Throughout his illustrious career, David Weiss' impact on the global jazz scene has been considerable. Born in New York City, Weiss, whose prolific work as an arranger is featured on over eighty recordings, graduated from the prestigious North Texas State University, and upon moving back to NYC, began a series of long associations some of the music's living masters, including Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Billy Harper (whom he performs with in The Cookers), Bobby Hutcherson, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Tom Harrell, Louis Hayes, Muhal Richard Abrams, Billy Hart (another member of The Cookers), and many others. Weiss has also devoted much energy over the years to nourishing the talents of some of the finest up and coming jazz musicians on the scene, proving to be influential in the success of artists such as Marcus and E.J. Strickland, Nir Felder, Jimmy Greene, Xavier Davis, Dwayne Burno and many others.
Best known for the gleaming authority and professionalism he brings to all his endeavors, as well as his entrepreneurial spirit, Weiss has carved out his own niche on the New York Scene. He's always got something intriguing up his sleeve-from the Cookers to ensembles of his peers like the New Jazz Composers Octet, to thoughtful tribute projects dedicated to Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter, to his Point of Departure Quintet that explores landmark but overlooked music from the '60s..." Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press
Tour Dates: Endangered Species
August 3 - The Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD
August 22-25 - Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, NYC
June 29 -Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, Saratoga, NY
July 8 - Valby Summer Jazz, Valby, Denmark
July 10 - Jazz Fest Wien, Porgy and Bess, Vienna, Austria
July 11 - Umbria Jazz Festival, Umbria, Italy
July 12 - Pescara Jazz Festival, Pescara, Italy
July 13 - Northsea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands
July 15 - Corte della Mole Vanvitelliana, Banchina da Chio, 1, Ancona, Italy,
July 16 - Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich, Germany
July 17 Bordeaux,France
July 18 - Sunset/Sunside Paris, France
August 8 + 9 - Dazzle Denver, CO
August 10 - The Albuquerque Museum Amphitheater, NM
August 11 - San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose,CA
August 12 - Kuumbwa, Santa Cruz, CA
August 13+14 - Jazz Alley Seattle, WA
August 15+16 - Yoshi's Oakland, CA
August 17+18 - Catalina Bar & Grill, Los Angeles, CA