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Jane Ira Bloom & Mark Helias Release 'Some Kind Of Tomorrow' On Bandcamp

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The beautiful collection of duets has such a fluid sound and feel that you quickly forget the technical backstory. Both players are so in tune with each other and sensitive listeners that nothing is lost in translation. —Kevin Johnson, No Treble
Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias come together to create duets discovered in the moment in a way that is rarely heard today with Some Kind of Tomorrow. The long time bandmates, separated by space and time find a way to play in real time with one another and the results are magical. Two master improvisers and composers bring listeners up-close and personal to the first spark of their imaginations at work, recording eleven duet improvisations over the spring, summer, and fall of 2020. The music is raw, authentic, intimate, alive, and unapologetic in its passion. Their sound is deep wood and polished brass recorded with a depth that is hard to describe. They played the music, recorded it, mastered it firsthand and are now making it available to listeners for the first time as a digital download on Bandcamp. Don’t miss these fearless jazz explorers as they face the future.

We didn’t have to write anything.
We didn’t have to plan anything.
We didn’t even have to talk.
We just had to play
—to connect with each other
across a distance in whatever way we could
because we had to.
It was just too hard to be a sound alone.
A sound needed another sound
—and so Mark & I began.


In the artist's own words

Here are the improvised duets that bassist Mark Helias and I created in the spring, summer, and fall of 2020 on the internet. The thought of a world without a live, spontaneous musical connection was too hard to imagine and so we came to these sessions over the internet with an emotional thirst that’s hard to describe. The music is discovered in the moment in a way that I’ve never recorded before. The sound is filled with everything that we felt and couldn’t say in words. There is a vibration between us that’s uncanny given the circumstances and a deep need to play what was real to us just then. It’s as real as it gets for two musicians who needed to create music together to try to find some way to mend the world. —Jane Ira Bloom

In unprecedented times artists resort to unprecedented strategies to fulfill the need to create and relate. Being locked down has reframed my appreciation of the act of musical interaction and reaffirmed the decision that I made decades ago to explore music as a life’s work. The first time that Jane and I improvised together through Wi-Fi sometime in April or May 2020 was a very high experience on so many levels. We were sorting out the possibilities of making music remotely and assessing the technology and our relation to it. Once we made peace with the situation and the medium, listening, feeling, hearing and responding was the same as it ever was. Without a live audience we decided to complete the circle by documenting our efforts through recordings that we are now sharing with the public. This process has been enlivening in ways that I had not anticipated. —Mark Helias

About Jane Ira Bloom

Soaring, poetic, quick silver, spontaneous and instantly identifiable are words used to describe the soprano sound of saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom. She's been steadfastly developing her singular voice on the soprano saxophone for over 40 years creating a body of music that marks her as an American original. She is a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz, as well as the possessor of “one of the most gorgeous tones and hauntingly lyrical ballad conceptions of any soprano saxophonist- Pulse." She is the winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album for her trio album “Early Americans."

Her continuing commitment to “pushing the envelope" in her music has led to collaborations with such outstanding jazz artists as Kenny Wheeler, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell, Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson, Bob Brookmeyer, Julian Priester, Jerry Granelli, Billy Hart, Mark Dresser, Bobby Previte, & Fred Hersch. She's also spearheaded collaborative world music groups featuring world music virtuosi Min Xioa-Fen on Chinese pipa, South Indian veena artist Geetha Ramanathan Bennett, koto artist Miya Masaoka, Korean komungo player Jin Hi Kim, and bassist Mark Dresser. She has performed at such diverse venues as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Smithsonian's Einstein Planetarium, the Montreal, JVC, and San Francisco Jazz Festivals as well as regular club engagements in NYC and tours of England, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil with her current group.

A ten time winner of the Jazz Journalists Award for soprano sax of the year, the Downbeat International Critics Poll for soprano saxophone, the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Award for lifetime service to jazz, the Charlie Parker Fellowship for Jazz Innovation and the International Women in Jazz Jazz Masters Award. Bloom is the first musician ever commissioned by the NASA Art Program and was honored to have an asteroid named in her honor by the International Astronomical Union (asteroid 6083janeirabloom). She's garnered numerous awards for her creativity including a Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition and a residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. A new jazz festival in Brooklyn, NY featuring cutting edge woman artists was named in her honor (The Bloom Festival).

A strong visual thinker and a cinematic stylist, Bloom's affinity for other art forms such as painting, film, theatre and dance has both enriched her music and brought her into contact with other innovative artists such as actors Vanessa Redgrave & Joanne Woodward, painter Dan Namingha, comic Lewis Black, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and legendary dancer/ choreographer Carmen DeLavallade. She has composed for the American Composers Orchestra (NYC), the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, the Pilobolus, Paradigm, & Philadanco Dance Companies, TV movie features (Shadow of A Doubt/ NBC-TV), and film soundscores (John Sayles' Silver City) writing works for large ensemble involving her signature movement techniques. She has also collaborated with classical composers premiering new works for soprano saxophone ("Sinfonia" by Augusta Read Thomas). She has curated a discussion/ performance series on improvisation at the Philoctetes Center for the Multi-Disciplinary Study of Imagination in NYC, presenting a wide range of programs including collaborations with dancer/ choreographer Carmen deLavallade and bassist Rufus Reid (Moving & Playing: Jazz Improvisation & Dance), performances with pianist Fred Hersch and bassist Drew Gress (The Art of the Ballad), and panel discussions with neuroscientist Josh McDermott and Arabic music scholar Toufiq Ben Amor (Dancing on the Ceiling: Music and the Brain). Bloom is the recipient of three awards in jazz composition from the Chamber Music America / Doris Duke New Jazz Works Program for the creation of Chasing Paint, a series of compositions inspired by painter Jackson Pollock that premiered at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Mental Weather, a suite of neuroscience inspired pieces, and recently Wild Lines, a jazz reimagining of Emily Dickinson's poetry that premiered at UMASS/ Amherst in the poet's hometown.

The Philadelphia Music Project commissioned her premiere of Unexpected Light- a unique collaboration of improvised sound & light with world-renowned lighting designer James F. Ingalls. JIB has participated in several international and 'remote' events directed by bassist Mark Dresser and composer Sarah Weaver including a large ensemble performance at the United Nations that linked improvising musicians in Korea, China, New York, and San Diego. Bloom continues to find inspiration in creating exploratory music with improvising musicians from around the world. She has recorded and produced 17 albums of her music dating from 1977 to the present. In 1976 she founded her own record label & publishing company (Outline Music) and later recorded for ENJA, CBS, Arabesque, Pure Audio, and Artistshare Records. Bloom has been the subject of a number of media profiles; she has been featured on CBS TV's Sunday Morning, Talkin' Jazz on NBC-TV, TIME Magazine's Women: The Road Ahead special issue, in the publication Jazzwomen: Conversations with 21 Musicians, in the Library of Congress Women Who Dare calendar, in Life Magazine's “Living Jazz Legends," on NPR's Morning Edition, Jazzset, Live From the Kennedy Center with Dr. Billy Taylor, and in the documentary film Reed Royalty hosted by Branford Marsalis. She is a professor at the New School's College of the Performing Arts School of Jazz in NYC, holds degrees from Yale University and Yale School of Music and studied saxophone with woodwind virtuoso Joseph Viola. Nat Hentoff has called Bloom an artist “beyond category." Bill Milkowski has called her “A true jazz original...a restlessly creative spirit, and a modern day role model for any aspiring musician who dares to follow his or her own vision."

About Mark Helias

Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music including Don Cherry, Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton, Abbey Lincoln, Cecil Taylor, and Uri Caine. Sixteen albums of his music have been released since 1984.

This story appears courtesy of Crossover Media.
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