Latest News

New Press for Tyshawn Sorey, Steve Coleman, and Dan Weiss

The New York Times gave a shining review of Tyshawn Sorey’s Alloy. Read the review here.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article interviewing Steve Coleman on his reaction and thoughts to receiving the MacArthur Genius Grant. Read the article here.

The new issue of Modern Drummer Magazine has a new feature on Dan Weiss.

Praise for Hafez Modirzadeh - In Convergence Liberation

Three great reviews of Hafez Modirzadeh’s new one in All About Jazz:

In a 4 1/2 Star Review, Hrayr Attarian says “With this impressive album Modirzadeh has fused his remarkable scholarship with his superb artistry. The result is uniquely cerebral without being abstruse and sublimely visceral without veering into melodrama. In short it is a near perfect disc that is quite accessible as well as exquisitely thought provoking, exactly what one has come to expect from both Modirzadeh and Pi Recordings.”

In another 4 1/2 Star review, Karl Ackerman calls it “an inspired, thought provoking collection that is well worth experiencing.”

And Dan Bilawsky in his 4 Star Review says “Those looking to understand the very nature of confluence need look no further than In Convergence Liberation.”

You need to check out what they are talking about, too.

Steve Coleman Named 2014 MacArthur Fellow

Congratulations to Steve Coleman who was named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow, AKA the”Genius Grant.” From the press release: “Steve Coleman is an alto saxophonist and composer whose technical virtuosity and engagement with musical traditions and styles from around the world are expanding the expressive and formal possibilities of spontaneous composition.”

Read the announcement HERE.

Mise en Abime reviewed in LA Times

Rave review in the LA Times for Steve Lehman’s Mise en Abime. Chris Barton says “Lehman is a dazzling talent with a compact tone and expansive ambitions” and the album “sounds like something moving forward fast. No other explanation is really needed.” Pick up a copy and hear for yourself today.

Mise en Abime gets 5 stars in Downbeat!

Our latest release: Mise en Abime from the Steve Lehman Octet was not only the lead review in the August Downbeat, it received a rare 5 star rating! In his review, John Corbett writes: “I’m rarely moved to say something like this, but Steve Lehman’s work is required listening for the next generation.”

Read the full review HERE.

Rave reviews in Popmatters for Dan Weiss and Marc Ribot

Two great reviews in Popmatters for Dan Weiss “Fourteen” and Marc Ribot Trio “Live at the Village Vanguard.” Will Layman says “Maybe it’s best just to hear Fourteen as a kind of pure abstraction — a number, you might say. A number with passion. A number with fire.” About the Ribot, he says: “And that’s as good a summary as I can find of all of this music: really emotional. Some is raucous and some is tender, but it’s all about what’s real and feeling. The scramble of “Sun Ship” feels as right as “Old Man River”, and it is certainly just as clearly a product of the great jazz tradition, which simply asks the musicians to play in the moment against both the elastic rhythm and released feeling that rhythm makes possible. Mark Ribot works in the hot, driving current of that tradition on Live at the Village Vanguard, which means that the recording easily earns its historically notable title.”

Read the reviews HERE and HERE

Video for Steve Lehman Octet "Mise en Abime"

Watch a VIDEO preview of our third release of the year: Mise en Abime from the Steve Lehman Octet. Out June 24.

Recent Press for Amir ElSaffar, Matt Mitchell, and Vijay Iyer

Photo for Recent Press for Amir ElSaffar, Matt Mitchell, and Vijay Iyer

NPR Music’s Kevin Whitehead reviews Amir ElSaffar’s Alchemy for “Fresh Air”

“ElSaffar’s new album Alchemy is a step forward in defining and refining his concept.”

Listen to the full review HERE

3.5/4 Stars for Alchemy by Chris Barton LA Times

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Matt Mitchell featured in Philadelphia’s “City Paper”

Shaun Brady showcases Matt and his latest release “Fiction” Full story HERE

4 Star Review for Matt Mitchell’s Fiction by Shaun Brady, Downbeat

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4 Star Hotbox Review for Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd’s Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project by John Corbett, DownBeat

Vijay Iyer interview for “The New Yorker” by Seth Colter Walls, read the full article HERE

Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project EPK

Photo for Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project EPK

Watch the new EPK for Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd’s Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project HERE

Recent Press

DownBeat Critics Poll Results: Jazz Album: Sam Rivers/Dave Holland/Barry Altschul Reunion: Live in New York #3 Record Label: Pi Recordings #3

“Vibration is essence for the alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman, whose nearly 30-year output as a leader suggests one long investigation… This is tangled funk with a higher calling, furious mainly in its focus.”, Nate Chinen New York Times

4.5 Star Review for Steve Coleman’s Functional Arrhythmias by Shaun Brady,DownBeat

4 Star HotBox Review Jonathan Finlayson’s Moment & the Message by John Corbett, DownBeat

“Finlayson… straddles the mathematical and the colloquial so well on this debut that he seems bound for the stature of Coleman, Lehman and Tim Berne, and even of the great Henry Threadgill before them. Finlayson’s clean-pitched agility and fresh phrasing steer the set, but innovative new guitarist Miles Okazaki, young Cuban pianist-of-the-moment David Virellesand some memorable compositions make it already a landmark among 2013’s releases.” 4 Stars, John Fordham, The Guardian UK

David Virelles 2013

2013 is shaping up wonderfully for David. In addition to his 1st place finish on Ben Ratliff’s New York Times Top 10 Albums of 2012 list, Continuum has placed 2nd in Rhapsody’s Top Latin Jazz Album and made the top 25 in Album of the Year. Virelles recently recorded a set for NPR and will be rounding out the weekend with his stay at the Village Vanguard.

David Virelles 2012 and Beyond

Photo for David Virelles 2012 and Beyond

2012 was a great year for David. His Pi Recordings debut, Continuum was Ben Ratliff’s #1 pick on his New York Times Top 10 Albums of 2012 list. A conversation between Ben and Nate Chinen, who also listed Continuum on his New York Times Top 10 Albums of 2012, on the year in jazz can be heard HERE. If 2012 was great 2013 looks to be even better as David will be headlining a week at the Village Vanguard January 29th through February 3rd.

The New York Times on David Virelles's

The New York Times Ben Ratliff has reviewed David Virelles’ Continuum. Ben describes it by saying, “(Continuum), by contrast, is not a conventional jazz record and maybe not even of its time, though not particularly of any previous time, either… Its music is inspired, on the surface, in rhythm and words… This album doesn’t just connect cultures and styles, it also connects generations, without schematically making a point that it’s doing so.”

Early Praise for David Virelles' Continuum

Photo for Early Praise for David Virelles' Continuum

SomethingElseReviews has published a glowing review of David Virelles’ debut recording for Pi, Continuum. “Next week, Virelles follows up his debut release Motion (2007) with a real career-defining effort, Continuum… is it truly career defining? I think so, and the investment Virelles put into this project speaks to the seriousness he’s put into this, an adamant determination to make an impression as an independently thinking artist, not just some good piano player and composer.”

NME has posted a link of the video for “One” from Continuum.

Recent Press for Sam Rivers and Hafez Modirzadeh

A collection of some recent press below:

2nd in Jazz Critics’ 2012 Album of the Year Poll -Rhapsody

Rob Johnson’s Top Album of the Year -The Examiner

“At 83, Rivers rises to the occasion with a sustained power that would be remarkable coming from an artist half his age. Considering how few albums this trio recorded during its time together … Reunion is an unexpected gift.” - Jazz Times, Lloyd Sachs

“Rivers’ ’70s trios — this one especially — pointed out a full range of possibilities to many freewheeling combos that came later.” - NPR Music, Kevin Whitehead

“The 90 minutes of music here (all improvised) vibrate with an intensity, freedom and unspoken connection that recollects the loft scene’s ’70s glory without explicitly referencing it. The recording quality is unimpeachable, but what is far more interesting is how these players’ approaches to music have evolved over three decades without losing their essential magic.” - Orlando Weekly, Jason Ferguson

“The two improvised sets they played were marvelous, picking right up where they left off in 1978—strong, swinging, and incisive, with not a hint of hesitation or tentativeness.” - Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak

“… the results prove to be surprising, quizzical, and “fuck yeah” exhilarating. This quintet — the leader on tenor and soprano, trumpeter Amir ElSaffar (with whom Modirzadeh co-led Radif Suite), pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Royal Hartigan — plays with so much range and feeling and technique that they at times sound nearly orchestral… It’s a powerful statement from a composer, instrumentalist, and band that deserve your time and acclaim.” - Dusted.com, Jason Bivins

“Highly innovative, Post-Chromodal Out! manages to seamlessly bridge the exotic and the familiar into one of the most captivating releases of the year.” - CultofMontreal.com, Lawrence Joseph

“… it sometimes sounds like early ’60s Miles Davis translated into a foreign language. Many have blended jazz with foreign musics, but few have been as successful in recent times as Modirzadeh.” - Jazz Times, Mike Shanley

Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp 5 Stars

Henry Threadgill’s Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp has received a rare 5 star review in the September 2012 DownBeat. John Corbett’s HotBox review describes the performance as, “With this incarnation of Zooid, Threadgill has yet again found the ideal vehicle for his evolving ideas.”

DownBeat Critics Poll

Photo for DownBeat Critics Poll

Pi Recordings, Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang have been voted voted #4 Label and #3 Rising Star Producers in DownBeat’s 60th Annual Critics Poll.

Congratulations also goes out to Vijay Iyer for his record setting five #1 category showings; Artist, Album, Group, Piano and Rising Star Composer and to Rudresh Mahanthappa for his #1 Alto of the year showing.

Henry Threadgill's “Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp”

Photo for Henry Threadgill's Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp

Henry Threadgill’s latest recording is reviewed in the New York Times. Nate Chinen describes “Tomorrow Sunny / the Revelry, Spp” as “…you’ll find striking individual contributions on this album — the chiming angularity of Mr. Ellman’s guitar on “Tomorrow Sunny,” the halting whinnies of Mr. Threadgill’s alto saxophone on “A Day Off”… the album… exerts its own momentum, so that the most dazzling track, “Ambient Pressure Thereby,” arrives with climactic intensity, as an onrushing confrontation.”

Marc Ribot live at The Village Vanguard

Photo for Marc Ribot live at The Village Vanguard

Marc Ribot has been at The Village Vanguard all week with Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor. Nate Chinen described the first night as such, “Mr. Ribot and his partners played forcefully but with lurking sensitivity, and an almost scary commitment to cohesion. It was the kind of flag raising first set that makes you wonder what’s in store as he week rolls on. Read Nate’s review in The New York Times here.

Praise for Steve Lehman's Dialect Fluorescent

Photo for Praise for Steve Lehman's Dialect Fluorescent
  • The Steve Lehman Trio on NPR’s Favorite Sessions playing music from Dialect Fluorescent
  • Dialect Fluorescent reviewed in The New York Times by Nate Chinen, “”The alto saxophonist and composer Steve Lehman has earned a reputation for sure-footed futurism… some smartly stuttering original pieces… several tunes from the jazz repertory… which serves as a springboard, sending the trio off in a swift trajectory, slicing through the air.”
  • Dialect Fluorescent previewed on TheAwl.com by Seth Colter Walls, ” “… this new recording leans heavily on some older jazz covers. One in particular, John Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice,” is particularly cool… groove and intellectualism can naturally co-exist.”

Recent Press on Our New Releases

As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to recognize some of the great press our newest releases have received:

Inana - Amir ElSaffar

“The music deftly combines jazz and Middle Eastern music in a unique way, finding common ground in improvisation… ElSaffar’s studies in both jazz and ethnic music have placed him in good stead to carve out a unique place in the current improvised music. His music and musicial concept is clearly evolving, and this is a very exciting development.”
— Jazz and Blues

“Gracefully poised between two worlds, Inana builds upon ElSaffar's previous accomplishments, establishing an impressive precedent for the creative possibilities of a new global jazz aesthetic.”
— AllAboutJazz

Oblique-I - Tyshawn Sorrey

“One of five drummers whose time is Now…. A spectacular young drummer on jazz’s leading edge, Mr. Sorey has proved himself a serious new-music composer besides, sometimes to the point of cerebral severity. But “Oblique-I” just out on Pi, is a riveting album, with compositions custom designed for the same musicians found here.”
— New York Times

“Oblique — I, is mostly the kind of rollicking band album you’d expect from a powerhouse drummer. His melodies are complex and full of surprises, but often light on their feet. Leading by example, Sorey is helping to heal an old rift in contemporary jazz, between musicians for whom swinging is everything and those also interested in other kinds of rhythmic subtleties and complications…. His quintet/quartet plays twisty, turny rhythms that surge ahead and then fall back, typical of jazz’s left flank. But under those zigzag lines, Sorey’s drums barrel along like a runaway tractor trailer. He makes those tricky patterns move.”
— NPR

The Mancy of Sound - Steve Coleman

“A vivacious group effort brimming with intricate cross-hatched melodies, oblique harmonies and kaleidoscopic rhythms, The Mancy of Sound follows Harvesting Semblances and Affinities as the strongest albums of Coleman’s career, reinforcing his significance in the development of contemporary jazz.”
— Point of Departure

“Of all the musicians who followed Coltrane, Ornette and the AACM, Coleman has done the most work and sustained the highest level of innovation and creativity of output and impact.”
— Downbeat

Tyshawn Sorey's Oblique Released to Great Acclaim

Photo for Tyshawn Sorey's Oblique Released to Great Acclaim

Tyshawn Sorey’s Oblique-I has been released to great acclaim. Fresh Air’s Kevin Whitehead reviewed it last week, describing it as “… mostly the kind of rollicking band album you’d expect from a powerhouse drummer. His melodies are complex and full of surprises, but often light on their feet.” Listen to the review HERE.

The Wall Street Journal’s Larry Blumenfeld interviewed Tyshawn for the Journal. Read the interview HERE. Larry says about Tyshawn, “…his strongest impact is as a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.” and describes Oblique-I as “… more like jazz yet still utterly original.”.

DownBeat's Critics Poll

DownBeat’s Critics Poll Winners have been released and there is much to celebrate. We are very pleased to congratulate Rudresh Mahanthappa for being voted top Alto Saxophonist. Apex is in the top 5 Jazz Albums of the Year at #4. Other categories where Pi Recordings’ artists were recognized by the critics:

  • Jazz Artist - Vijay Iyer, Henry Threadgill & Rudresh Mahanthappa
  • Piano - Vijay Iyer
  • Rising Star Jazz Artist - Rudresh Mahanthappa & Vijay Iyer
  • Composer - Henry Threadgill & Vijay Iyer
  • Rising Star Piano - Vijay Iyer
  • Alto Saxophone - Henry Threadgill , Bunky Green & Steve Coleman
  • Jazz Group - Henry Threadgill Zooid
  • Flute - Henry Threadgill
  • Guitar - Marc Ribot
  • Rising Star Guitar - Liberty Ellman
  • Rising Star Composer - Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman & Rudresh Mahanthappa
  • Record Label - Pi Recordings

The July issue of DownBeat features Marc Ribot and Nels Cline on the cover. The guitarists discuss their approaches to the instrument as well as their most recent releases, Silent Movies and Dirty Baby.

Muhal’s latest, SoundDance, gets a nice write up in this weekend’s Art and Leisure section of the New York Times. Nate Chinen says “The album, on two CDs, is a bristling wonder.”

Read Steve Smith of the New York Times review of ICE’s performance of Steve Lehman’s Impossible Flow at Le Poisson Rouge.

The end of 2010 found Pi Recordings releases featured on a number of year end lists.

The Village Voice Poll had four Pi Recordings releases in the top 20; Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex was #2, Henry Threadgill Zooid’s This Brings Us To, vol. 2 was #5, Steve Coleman & Five Elements Harvesting Semblances and Affinities was #7 and Marc Ribot’s Silent Movies was #18.

Chris barton of the LA Times included both Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex and Marc Ribot’s Silent Movies on his year end best of list.

Fred Kaplan of Slate.com included Henry Threadgill Zooid’s This Brings Us To, vol. 2 on his on his year end best of list.

Howard Reich of Chicago Tribune included Henry Threadgill Zooid’s This Brings Us To, vol. 2 on his on his year end best of list.

Ben Ratliff of the New York Times has listed Steve Coleman and Five Elements Harvesting Semblances and Affinities his #1 release of the year for 2010.

You can also listen to Ben and the rest of the NYTimes music writers discuss their picks on the Times Music PodCast where Ben says “…(Steve) is a high concept Ninja, but a great record comes down to a great band, and this band is playing incredibly well on this record. Rhythmically this record is as bewitching as anything I’ve ever heard. There’s an aura around him and his music of difficulty… but this record is not difficult to listen to; it’s just gorgeous. And he hasn’t made a record this good in I think about ten years so it feels like “the return of.”

We are pleased to announce that we have added 4 items to our store for the holiday season:

Check out the recent Bunky Green interview with Patrick Jarenwattananon @ NPR: Part I & Part II

Shaun Brady of JazzTimes writes a review on Apex. Read the review HERE

Ben Ratliff of The New York Times wrote a fantastic review of Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex premier show at the Jazz Standard in NYC. The band is in the studio today and tomorrow recording for Pi Recordings. Look for the release, featuring Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette, in the fall.

Check out the really fascinating article by Amir Elsaffar in the most recent issue of All About Jazz New York (on page 13) discussing the theories behind his new CD Radif Suite. There is also a review of the CD in the same issue.

Pi Recordings is proud to announce the new release from Amir ElSaffar and Hafez Modirzadeh: Radif Suite. The release has already been praised as:

“A rewarding collection thick with ideas and inspiration”
LA Times
“A new grammar for composition and improvisation”
Dusted Magazine

The CD is available for purchase from the website.

We are excited to tell you about a new publication that we think you will enjoy. Burning Ambulance is a quarterly journal of the arts. The writers who contribute have chosen an in-depth approach in opposition to the glib, superficial treatment commonly afforded popular culture in mainstream, advertising-dependent magazines. Contributing writers include: Matt Cibula, Philip Freeman, Kurt Gottschalk, Stephen Haynes, and Phil Nugent. We would like to thank Burning Ambulance for featuring an insightfully written 8000 word piece on Henry Threadgill and his music in its premier issue. Please take a moment to learn more about Burning Ambulance and enjoy.

Muhal Richard Abrams will be honored at Lincoln Center next Tuesday January 12th with a 2010 NEA Jazz Masters Award. The ceremony and concert will be broadcast live on WBGO 88.3FM and can be heard via their stream HERE.

Josh Jackson’s most recent edition of The Checkout on WBGO features an interview with Muhal. Listen to it HERE.

We would like to thank the 99 journalists who participated in the Fourth Annual Village Voice Jazz Poll and who helped to make Henry Threadgill’s This Brings Us To, volume 1 the #2 recording of 2009 and Steve Lehman’s Travail, Transformation and Flow #5.

We would also like to thank the Wall Street Journal and Larry Blumenfeld for naming Henry’s recording the #1 release of 2009.

Happy New Year to all from Pi Recordings.

Special thanks to Jazz Times and the New York Times for their support:

New York Times Year End Best of List
Nat Chinen
Steve Lehman - Travail, Transformation & Flow #1
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To Vol.1, #3
Ben Ratliff
Steve Lehman - Travail, Transformation & Flow #5

Jazz Times Top 50 Releases of 2009
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To Vol.1, # 4
Steve Lehman - Travail, Transformation & Flow #11

PopMatters.com Best of Jazz 2009
Steve Lehman - Travail, Transformation & Flow #6
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To Vol.1, #7

Year end polls are starting to come in. We would like to thank the following critics for their support:

Bill Milkowski
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To, Vol. 1, # 1

Steve Feeney
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To Vol.1, # 3

Jason Crane
Steve Lehman - Travail, Transformation & Flow, # 9

Michael J. West
Steve Lehman - Travail, Transformation & Flow, # 7

Howard Mandel
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To, Vol. 1, # 1
Steve Lehman Octet - Travail, Transformation, and Flow, # 5

Hank Shteamer
Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To, Volume 1, # 6

David R. Adler
Steve Lehman Octet - Travail Transformation & Flow, # 5

Christian Broecking Henry Threadgill Zooid - This Brings Us To, Vol. 1, # 2
Steve Lehman Octet - Travail, Transformation, and Flow, # 3

We would also like the thank Nate Chinen for choosing Travail, Transformation, and Flow, and This Brings Us To, Vol. 1 as his number one and two picks. Click here to check out the ongoing conversation.

Finally, a special thanks to Seth Colter Walls for citing Travail, Transformation, and Flow in his Newsweek article, Jazz Is Dead. Long Live Jazz.

Pi Recordings is proud to announce our presence in Downbeat Magazine’s 74th Annual Readers Poll.

Some highlights from the poll:

  • Rudresh Mahanthappa was voted into the Alto Saxophone category and was also acknowledged for his release Kinsman for Album of the Year.

  • Multi-Instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell was voted in this year’s poll for the Soprano Saxophone category.

Last, but not least:

  • Pi Recordings was voted into the Record Label of the Year category!

Thank you to all the Downbeat readers who voted, and thank you to all of our devoted Pi fans who let their voices be heard!

Henry Threadgill’s This Brings Us To hits stores October 27th, 2009. It has been receiving excellent press with much more to come.

“Ths Brings Us To, Volume I” is a deep and enigmatic album, serene and funky, radiant with purpose.” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times

A disciplined kind of free jazz in which sophisticated, often meticulous compositional forms and strategies merge with an exploratory approach to improvisation and a post-everything inclusiveness.
– Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press (Four Stars)

This Brings Us To lunges at the listener with enigmatic twists and Threadgil’s unmistakable wailing alto sound.
– Bret Saunders, Denver Post

The groups sound is thrillingly thorney, Threadgill’s alto saxophone and flute tones brusk and rough at key moments, rich and velvety at others.
- Marc Medwin, Dusted Magazine

Effortlessly weaving solos into an ever-shifting pulse of brass and rhythm, the tunes offer immediate and visceral pleasures.
– Destination Out

This Brings Us To, Volume 1 is a spectacular return from an important jazz composer.
–Troy Collins, All About Jazz

RIP Sirone September 28th, 1940 - October 21st, 2009. We thank you for the time we got to spend with you, your music, humor and outlook.

Pi Recordings is very pleased to announce that at last night’s Jazz Journalists Association awards presentation, Rudresh Mahanthappa was named Alto Saxophonist of the Year. This is the first time that Rudresh has been given this honor, but we think, probably not the last. We would like to congratulate Rudresh and thank all of the journalists who voted for him.

We are so pleased to let everyone know that the new issue of the New Yorker features an article by Gary Giddins on Rudresh Mahanthappa’s two new recordings Kinsmen and Apti. Without question Giddins is one of the top voices writing about music today and this article is one of the best that we have read on Rudresh, his music and in particular his collaboration with Kadri Gopalnath. Giddins writes: “Kinsmen is a momentous achievement that will be around for a long time to come.” Please read it and enjoy.

NPR’s All Things Considered has just run a profile of Rudresh by Howard Mandel. The piece discusses Kinsmen and interviews Rudresh and Rez Abbasi. It also covers the South Asian presence in jazz and its development over the years. It can be heard HERE.

Further, Will Hermes of Rolling Stone has listed Kinsmen in his Top Albums and Singles of 20008 along with Fleet Foxes, TV on the Radio, Santogold and Vampire Weekend.

With one week to go we would like to remind everyone of our year-end sale.

  • Buy any two CDs for $24 ($12 per CD!)
  • Buy any three CDs for $33 ($11 per CD!)
  • Buy any four CDs for $40 ($10 per CD!)
  • Double CDs discounted to $17!

Also, just in time for the holidays for our new Rudresh Mahanthappa Kinsmen shirt is now available. Designed by the same team that has done the last two Rudresh CDs for Pi, this shirt features the Kinsmen graphic on an American Apparel shirt. Sizes include, S, M, L, XL and 2XL. Until the end of the year, we are offering a Kinsmen and Fieldwork shirt combined order for $35. If you order one of our last Pi Recordings shirts the three shirts combined are $45.

The order form will not reflect the discount, but on our end we will charge the correct amount.

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog recording has been listed #1 by Ted Drozdowski in his Boston Phoenix 2008 Listravaganza, ahead of recordings by Mars Volta, Ani DiFranco, The Black Keys and Guns ‘n’ Roses (well now that one surprised us).

Kinsmen continues to show up on year end lists. This week alone it has appeared on Ben Ratliff’s New York Times 2008 Top 10 at #4, NPR’s Take 5 Top 5 Jazz CDs of 2008 at #2 and Slate.com Top 10 Jazz albums of 2008 at #4.

Earlier mentions this season include Pop Matters, All Music Guide, The Boston Globe and The Boston Phoenix.

It is that time of year again, the time where we take stock of what the journalists have to say about our releases for 2008.

The Jazz Journalists Association has begun posting their Top 10 Lists for the year and many of our 2008 releases have found their way onto top 10 lists of association members. David Adler lists Kinsmen at #5 and gives special mention to Door. Christian von Broecking lists Door at #2 and Ceramic Dog at #5. Alain Drout and Hank Shteamer list Door in their top 10. Andrew Gilbert lists Kinsmen at #8 along with Andrey Henkin and Howard Mandel who both have it in their Top 10.

Thank you to all of the JJA members who have supported our artists and the label’s work through 2008.

As the end of the year approaches we find out who in the press has been checking out our releases. We now know that All Music Guide has been keeping a watchful eye on us and Rudresh in particular. Kinsmen was named one of AllMusic’s Favorite Jazz Albums of 2008. Check out AMG’s review of Kinsmen HERE. Thank you AMG.

Jazz Times writer Mike Shanley attended the premier of Rudresh’s Guggenheim supported new work Samdhi: Diasporic Connection in Pittsburgh. Jazz Times has posted a review of it recently. The review and interview with Rudresh that preceded the performance give a nice preview of what looks to be a major new work from Rudresh. Shanley says of the music “… new music of this caliber hasn’t been attempted before. Granted, Kinsmen, Mahanthappa’s latest album, set the course. But while that album featured him sharing space with Indian saxophonist Kadri Golpalnath, the Pittsburgh performance put all the emphasis on Mahanthappa the bandleader and composer.” Providing a sneak peak to those who were not able to attend the performance he describes a section of the music as follows “…Mahanthappa began a duet with his laptop, blowing notes that immediately played back at him, creating a harmony that gradually became dissonant and grew in sound until eventually the laptop sounded like a chorus of Indian vocalists singing over a programmed beat. “

We look forward to hearing more about Samdhi soon.

A great review of Rudresh’s Kinsmen was published in The New York Times today. Written by Ben Ratliff, the review opens with the high praise of “There’s no groove I’ve heard quite like the one on “Ganesha…”, moves on to call the music “… really something…” and describes Rudresh as ” (having) internalized Charlie Parker’s ballad tone, and some of his hustling phrasing and his harmonic ideas from post-Coltrane saxophonists like Michael Brecker and Steve Coleman.” It’s always nice to be appreciated by your home town paper. It’s a little special when it’s the New York Times.

Please read our Blog and introduce yourself to our new Editor at Large, Rafiq Bhatia. Learn more about Rafiq at the About Page. We think you will enjoy his writing and perspective on music. We wouldn’t have asked him to to blog if we didn’t know he had something to say.

If it works for you once, why not do it again?

After his Down Beat cover early this year, Vijay finds himself on the cover of Jazzwise this month.

The article by Kevin LeGendre covers his new quartet recording as well as the new Fieldwork recording Door.

We at Pi are pleased to see Vijay getting his just due.

There’s more to the news than just what is happening with us and our artists, true. But that is so much of what we spend our time reading.

We’ll try to diversify it a little this time.

The most recent edition of Time Out New York features artists discussing other artists their watching. Who shows up? Amir ElSaffar. Who’s watching him? Vijay iyer. We sense a trend.

And just to show you that it is not all about us, we’re going to be keeping our eyes open for Gabriel Kahane on the suggestion of Ethan Iverson. He lives in Brooklyn. There’s a decent chance we’ll see him around.

With Labor Day around the corner, we thought we would sum up some of this summer’s better reviews as a way of saying goodbye summer hello Fall.

We start off with a 4 star review by Ted Drozdowski in the Boston Phoenix. Ted describes Party Intellectuals and Marc’s playing as “…’70s funk echoes of “Todo el Mundo Es Kitsch” and “Pinch” to the campy Eurotrash arrangement of “For Malena” to the ambient “SHSH SHSH.” Humor, melody, and weirdness rule, and that makes Ceramic Dog lighter than both Ribot’s Los Cubanos Postizos Afro-Cuban band and his aggro-noise outfit Shrek, even when his playing — supported by percussionist Ches Smith and bassist Shahzad Ismaily — is impossibly heavy.”

Read the review here.

NPR’s Kevin Whitehead gives a glowing review to George Lewis’ A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and the American Experimental Music. Kevin calls the book “rich, dense and gratifyingly readable.” but listen for yourself.

Due to popular demand, we’re happy to announce that Pi now offers instant DRM-free MP3 downloads of our music. Most albums are $9.99 and tracks are only $0.99!

The 56th Annual Down Beat Critic’s Poll results are in and we are pleased to say that a number of Pi Recording’s artists have been recognized for their work over the past year.

  • Muhal Richard Abrams received 32 votes towards Hall of Fame consideration.

  • The Vijay Iyer Quartet received 33 votes in the Rising Star Jazz Group category. Additionally, Vijay received 47 votes in the Rising Star Composer category, 28 votes in the Rising Star Jazz Artist category and 60 votes in the Rising Star Piano category. Tyshawn Sorey also received Rising Star Jazz Artist consideration with 23 votes as well as 29 votes in the Rising Star Drums category.

  • Roscoe Mitchell received 38 votes in the Soprano Saxophone category.

  • Rudresh Mahanthappa received 23 votes in the Alto Saxophone category and 85 votes in the Rising Star Alto Saxophone category. Steve Lehman also received Rising Star Alto Saxophone with 48 votes.

  • Henry Threadgill received 39 votes in the Flute category.

  • Corey Wilkes received 35 votes in the Rising Star Trumpet category.

  • Marc Ribot received 26 votes and James “Blood” Ulmer received 25 votes in the Guitar category. Additionally, “Blood” received 50 votes in the Blues Artist/Group category.

Pi Recordings would like to thank all of the critics who recognize the work of our artists year after year.

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog was reviewed on NPR’s Day to Day by David Was on the 4th of July. Calling Marc “…Mercurial in the best possible sense…” David hypes the new Ceramic Dog recording Party Intellectuals with this pretty weighty line, “… one expects this recording to be nothing less than a meditation on modern music.”

Our week was capped off with this great review of our latest release: Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog’s Party Intellectuals in the New York Times Sunday Playlist where Nate Chinen wrote: “…the musicianship is intense regardless of the subtext, with all three players hurling themselves into their effort. They have an equally convincing way with bruising thrash punk, one-chord-vamp heroics and brooding atmospherics. And with one Cuban-flavored ballad, “For Malena,” Mr. Ribot expresses evidence of a heart to match his reserve of wits and soul.” Thanks Nate!

This has been a good week for Marc Ribot and Ceramic Dog. A nice feature in The Village Voice and Time Out New York and then a killer show in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

If you haven’t heard Ceramic Dog yet, you will. Pi Recordings will be releasing their first recording Party Intellectuals next week. Curious what they sound like? Here’s how Marc describes their origins, “..apparently born out of a quasi-freakout regarding his sudden need to rock. “It was one of those blinding, post-9/11 revelations of: ‘Oh my God — I’m going to die someday, and I haven’t directly tried to do a rock band,’ ” he recalls. “And as with many of those blinding revelations, it turned out to be partly valid and partly bullshit.”

It feels like it has been a long time coming, but it has finally arrived. One of our artists is featured on the cover of DownBeat. This month’s cover features, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran and Matthew Shipp. The three pianists engage in an interesting conversation about identity, technology and the trajectory of their careers.

WNYC is many things to New York radio, but one of them is hands down the outlet for music that needs to be heard. So it was exciting news when John Schaefer asked Fieldwork to join him on Soundcheck before their CD release show at Joe’s Pub. Listen to the segment here.

More great press about the AACM and George Lewis’s book from Hank Shteamer in Time Out New York. For those interested in digging deeper, (well you really should read the book) Hank has put up these great interview transcripts with George and Muhal on his blog. Happy reading.

George Lewis’s book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music is now available. Read fine articles about this important work here and here. Of course , if you are in New York, please attend this important event, a panel discussion, book signing, and performance featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis and Wadada Leo Smith.

Pi Recordings is pleased to announce that the Jazz Journalists Association has released their list of finalists for this year’s awards and a number of Pi Recordings’ artists are prominently featured. Tyshawn Sorey has been nominated for Up & Coming Musician of the Year and Drummer of the Year, while Steve Lehman has been nominated for Alto Player of the Year. Congratulations to both Tyshawn and Steve. Harbingers of things to come for sure.

Wonderful feature article on the AACM by Nate Chinen in the New York Times on the occasion of the release of George Lewis’s “A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music.” It’s really heartening to be reminded how many of the key members of the AACM, some now gone, have recorded for Pi. Chinen goes on to name Fieldwork as an example of a band influenced by the AACM aesthetic. Thanks Nate for helping to draw attention to an organization whose recognition falls well short of it’s influence on the music.

Pi Recordings is very excited to announce that 2008 will see the release of Fieldwork’s new studio recordings Door. Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman and Tyshawn Sorey recorded Door after their three nights of performances at the Stone in December of 2007.

Produced by the band and mixed by Scott Harding, Door is the bands third release and first with Tyshawn Sorey. 2 tracks from the CD can be previewed here. Look for the CD this Spring.

The Year End Lists are in and we would like to thank the following critics for their support of our releases this year; Alex Dutilh for including Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell’s Streaming and Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Codebook in his year end list and Stuart Broomer and Philip DiPietro for including Steve Lehman’s On Meaning in their year end lists.

Additionally, we would like to thank those critics whose votes helped Muhal Richard Abrams Vision Towards Essence to be included on the Village Voice 2007 Jazz Poll and those whose votes helped Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers to be recognized among the Best Debut Albums of 2007.

As stated in an earlier post, we are always excited by home grown love. It is with that in mind that Hank Shteamer and Steve Smith for including Muhal Richard Abrams’s Vision Towards Essence in their Time Out New York Best of 2007 lists.

Coincidently, or maybe not so coincidently as we are fans of his as well, they also both included Tyshawn Sorey’s that/not on there.

And because it is the end of the year and we don’t object to giving ourselves a little pat on the back every once in a while we thought we would close this post out with a quote from Hank’s list. “Local imprint Pi cements its position as one of the premier 21st-century jazz labels with a sumptuous solo recital from an avant-garde master.” Thank you Hank.

The end of the year is fun for any number of reasons, but it is especially fun for us as it gives us a moment to find out who really enjoyed our output for the year.

At the top of our list this year has to be Derk Richardson. His declaration that Muhal Richard Abrams Vision Towards Essence is the Solo Piano release of the year, in the San Francisco Gate, is no small step towards making this our best year yet.

Not to be outdone though, Siddhartha Mitter listed Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers in his 2007 best of list in The Boston Globe alongside M.I.A. and Bettye LaVette. Not bad.

We never get tired of support from the New York Times, especially when it is as positive as Nate Chinen’s review of Steve Lehman’s On Meaning. From the most recent Critic’s Choice column Nate describes the results of the recording date as “The layered complexity of his music attests to some careful calibration, but the playing reflects something else: a spirit of lunging abandon constrained by collective purpose.” Regarding other label favorites, “The album’s chief relationship is between Mr. Lehman and Tyshawn Sorey, an impulsive yet exacting drummer; together they make up two-thirds of Fieldwork, a separate group that has made a science of rhythmic convolution.” Further wets our appetite for 2008, as Fieldwork goes into the studio this Friday to start work on their third recording.

From the pages of Jazz Times, Chris Kelsey’s review of Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers appropriately sums up Amir and the recording with these lines, “ElSaffar’s band (Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto sax; Nasheet Waits, drums; Carlo DeRosa, bass; Tareq Abboushi, buzuq and percussion; Zaafer Tawil, oud, violin, dumbek) has nary a weak link… There’s not the faintest hint of dabbling here; ElSaffar knows from whence he came, in every respect.”