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Sonic Portraits Jazz is a portal for the fulfillment Dream Projects around the creation of a small, but vital multi-generational community of mostly Chicago-based jazz artists with a commitment to artistic excellence through the exploration of music expressionism that transcends the mundane. SPJ mission larger mission is to act a facilitator and historical archivist of the above activities for posterity.
We begin with the premise that music has the power to shift the atmosphere to change individuals, audiences and calm the world. Our vision is that musical storytelling through sound paintings can capture the imagination to inspire higher perspectives with regard to what is possible, beyond our, oftentimes, stress-filled existence on the planet. Then intended result of our undertaking is the renewal and transformation of the human spirit through therapeutic sound that also facilitates the continuum of great jazz legacies to inform the creation of new ones; looking back-to-move forward. Thus, within this artistic community, the NexGen of great jazz artists thrive because of mentorship and nurturing by those of the previous generations that have the experience to provide valuable guidance.
It is recognized that the pre-elder veteran musicians of our current generations are the last to have direct contact with and mentorship by the founders, creators and innovators of the American art form referred to as Jazz. It is the flickering flame of this uniquely empirical torch that we are responsible for preserving and passing down to the next generation of young artists with a sense of integrity from a sources of authenticity.
SPJ exists to provide an outlet, a platform, a spotlight–to give voice to new music expression and to archive these creations for future generations. SPJ will do this through a fan-based support model that aggregates funding to SPJ Dream Projects and partners such as The Jazz Institute of Chicago, Chicago Academy of Music a Conservatory, NexGenJazz and others. You can read more about this on our Support page.onic Portraits Jazz is a portal for the fulfillment Dream Projects around the creation of a small, but vital multi-generational community of mostly Chicago-based jazz artists with a commitment to artistic excellence through the exploration of music expressionism that transcends the mundane.
Sonic Portraits Entertainment originally launched in 2007 with the debut release of the Robert Irving III trio project, “New Momentum” produced, by now multi-Grammy Award winners, drummer/vocalist, Terri Lyne Carrington and Executive Producer Robert Hebert. This project featured bassist, Buster Williams with Yuseff Ernie Adams on drums and appearances by bassist, Marlene Rosenberg. Dick Crockett-Bopndicks wrote, “…New Momentum CD is expansive and dramatic in it’s all encompassing scenery. The kind of majesty that film makers John Ford and David Lean were able to convey.”
The re-emergence of the label as Sonic Portraits Jazz coincides Robert Irving III-Generations’ debut release, “Our Space In Time” with a street date of 11/11/15 and an international radio promotion campaign ensuing on 10/21/15. This CD is currently receiving extensive airplay around the world and its anticipated to generate editorial attention by several prominent jazz publications. The official CD release event happens at The Promontory in the Hyde Park area of Chicago near U of C. This venue known for it’s elegance and for its presentation of internationally known recording artists across genres. WDCB Jazz Radio is the media sponsor of the event in partnership with SPJ. There will be subsequent projects from this group that Chicago based jazz writer, Lloyd Sachs compares to a modern day Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. and a host of new artist releases and catalog acquisitions throughout the next year.
Interim Activity–During the interim period, in 2009, Irving was commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs to create “Sketches of Brazil,” an orchestral suite, which premiered at Millennium Park in Chicago with Irving’s 34-piece Sonic Portraits Orchestra featuring trumpeter, Wallace Roney and Fareed Haque on classical guitar to a crowd of 12,500 with three standing ovations; but there was no commercial recording. Chicago Tribune jazz critic wrote,“brilliant colors and rhythmic drive a tour de force of orchestral writing.” The piece was created in homage to Irving’s mentors, Gil Evans and Miles Davis on the 50th anniversary of the pair’s seminal Sketches Of Spain recording. SPJ plans to remount this as it’s PrincipleDream Project in 2016 around the Brazilian Olympic Games for subsequent release on the Sonic Portraits Jazz label. 2016 is the 30th anniversary of Robert Irving III’s first trip to Brazil in 1986 as Musical Director of the Miles Davis Band and also marks the 90th birthday of Miles Davis and the 25th year of his departure.
In 2011 Chicago bassist, Frank Russell released his second solo project, “Circle Without End” on the Sonic Portraits imprint. This is currently cataloged on SPJ. His next project, “Influences”, now in production will be released during the late 2nd Quarter of 2016 and is a tribute to electric jazz bass masters.
Our Latest Release is a new project from French saxophonist, Lolo Irving, entitled “No Limit” with her unique creation of Romantic Classical/Jazz Fusion (see Featured Artist page). She is the wife of Robert Irving III. A live album project will follow from the Irving couple’s collaboration with French musicians, bassist, Joachim Florent and drummer, Dennis Fournier featuring saxophonist, Ari Brown and guitarist Jeff Parker in a program of spontaneously created music recorded before a live audience at PianoForte Studio in November 2014 as a part of “The Bridge” project that fosters collaborations between creative musicians from France and Chicago.
There are also plans to release a remastered version of “Midnight Dream” the 1988 debut album of Robert Irving III with several tracks featuring vocalist Phil Perry, guitarist, John Scofield, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer, Buddy Williams. When this album was released in it sold 30,000 units and received extensive radio airplay. Famed DJ Frankie Croker played the track, “Time Won’t Tell (All Time Is Now) to open his morning show on KISS FM in New York for two-weeks with commentary. The tune’s social commentary on the cold war made it very popular for his listeners.
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