Guitarist/composer Mike Moreno has established himself on the jazz scene in a big way, touring as a guitarist for headlining bands including the Joshua Redman Elastic Band, The Nicholas Payton Quartet, Lizz Wright, The Greg Osby 4, and The Jeff Tain Watts Quintet. All the while contributing enormously to the success of recordings by artists such as Marcus Strickland, Jimmy Greene, Q-Tip, Yosvany Terry, Eldar, Robert Glasper, Jeremy Pelt, John Ellis, The Kendrick Scott Oracle", Myron Walden and others.
Between The Lines is the much anticipated debut release from Moreno, without a doubt one New York's most prominent and versatile guitarists. It is a recording of eight original compositions, which presents an exciting palette of harmonies and sound textures that his band has been developing since 2000. A palette that includes sounds of both acoustic and electric guitars, and the finest of New York's jazz scene. Saxophone sensations John Ellis and Marcus Strickland, pianist Aaron Parks (Terence Blanchard), Doug Weiss of the Al Foster Group on bass, and drummers Kendrick Scott (Blanchard, John Scofield) and Tyshawn Sorey (Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas).
Moreno uses a variety of approaches to bring his compositions to life. I wanted each song to have it's own sound. Which is why I chose to use different combinations of instruments and players for each track. No two tracks on this record have the same exact line-up or instrumentation," Moreno says. The guitarist takes advantage of the recording studio, using overdubs to layer guitar tracks. And I wanted the sound for most of these tunes to be huge. I didn't want this to be a straight documentation of what we sound like live. People have already heard that at our shows, online, and live bootlegs. This record had to be different."
And different it is. Between the Lines" represents a new movement of the guitar in today's jazz scene. One where the walls between the roles of instruments are torn down. The guitar has always been a tool in which I try to speak the language of the music I love and hear in my head. And what has influenced me the most is the vocabulary from instruments other than the guitar to be honest. Saxophone, piano. I don't try to play traditional jazz guitar or write songs that sound like they are written for what people expect from the guitar. I like to play like a horn as well, or try and make the guitar sound like a Rhodes."
This approach to playing and writing have gained Moreno the attention of major original artists such as Pat Metheny, Greg Osby and Mike Stern, who have endorsed the guitarists work numerous times in worldwide magazines as well as on the internet. He has something fresh," says Metheny in an interview for the German Magazine Gitarre and Bass." When I first started learning to play this music, I knew I had to help figure out a way to get people to look at the guitar in a different way, along with some other great guitar players I felt were doing the same in there own way. I didn't want to be put in a box, such as....guitar goes with organ and bluesy funky music, or only with Modern, spacy music" with lots of effects and less rhythm and harmony. I wanted to play with horn players who were really dealing with harmony, and drummers who really could swing as well as play straight 8th music. So I prepared myself in those ways. And I wrote music that challenged me in those ways."
With Between The Lines Mike Moreno is taking the leader role head on, making his compositional voice more prominent. People have been asking me for years now, when will I put out a record of my own music? I was waiting for the right time within my playing, the right amount of exposure playing on high profile gigs, the right amount of time to try different musicians and instruments. I didn't want to make just another jazz record. It had to be something special. And I feel this record does offer something special and different. The songs are strong and very clearly stated. This is not a record where we solo till the end of the day and try and confuse the listener. It's very melodic, but still interesting. The harmony and textures are where I try and gain peoples interest the most. I believe in a good melody, and try to engrave it in the listeners mind."
Between The Lines is available NOW on the World Culture Music Label
More on drummer/composer/WCM Founder Kendrick Scott:
In the words of Terence Blanchard, Kendrick is a true artist of the highest order. He is not bound by the conventional wisdom of the music world. I've noticed that he never says why, but rather why not. He is exactly what the music world needs: someone with the vision and courage to press forward and expand the world of music. I am blessed to have him around and look forward to seeing what he does every time we play."
Drummer Kendrick Scott is one of jazz's young masters of the instrument. He was born in Houston and attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, winning Downbeat Magazine student awards, IAJE's Clifford Brown / Stan Getz award and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. Kendrick was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music where he majored in Music Education. As a performer, Kendrick joined The Crusaders and The Terence Blanchard Group; he has also shared the stage with Dianne Reeves, John Patitucci, Stefon Harris, Kenny Garrett, Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Gary Burton, Mark Turner, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, David Sanborn, Roy Hargrove and many more, including playing on numerous film soundtracks by Spike Lee. Kendrick recently released The Source" his debut recorded and first World Culture Music release to rave reviews. With this debut, he secures his position as part of an elite group of young New York-based improvisers and composers impacting jazz around the world.
World Culture Music: World Culture Music is an artist collective record label and multi-faceted music company that was created by Kendrick Scott to form an alliance of like-minded musicians who are making a significant impact on both today's jazz scene and on music in general.
WCM's mission is to blur the labels in music, cross the cultural divides, bypass the corporate structure and provide the next generation of talent an outlet to fulfill their creative visions. As an alternative approach to the traditional record label, World Culture Music's objective is to bring the artist closer to the listener with no filters in creativity and honesty. WCM provides young creative musicians an opportunity to maintain all artistic control over their music and enables the musician to decide how it will be presented to the world. Unified under WCM, its artists can connect with their audience on a broad scale.
WCM presents artists of the highest caliber who are some of today's most in-demand musicians. Drummer Kendrick Scott, vocalist/composer Julie Hardy, trombonist Nick Vayenas, and guitarist Mike Moreno have established themselves as some of the leading musical figures of their generation. They have played on over 35 recordings combined and performed with some of today's top jazz acts including Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, John Scofield, Nicholas Payton, Greg Osby, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Dianne Reeves Jeff Tain" Watts, Michael Buble, Kenny Garrett, and Ravi Coltrane.Praise for Mike Moreno
There are many other guitarists out there pushing towards a modern ideal, but none with the precise coordinates that Mike Moreno has charted." - Nate Chinen, JazzTimes
A Guitarist of commanding technique and almost architectural expression." - The Village Voice
A really talented guy who impressed me beyond the notes, for his general feeling, and what he's going for." - Pat Metheny
He's so incredibly lyrical, and he's always reaching for something." I told him I transcribed some of his stuff" - Mike Stern