Introducing the System Solution: Set-Up & Tuning Discs

After years of great success with our original System Set-Up & Tuning Disc, Nordost is excited to introduce a newly upgraded disc-set that both improves and expands upon our initial product, offering more content and features, to get your system sounding its best and to keep it that way. The Nordost System Solution is an invaluable tool for the installation, maintenance, and fine-tuning of any hifi audio system. Arranging a new system is a painstaking and exacting task for even the most seasoned audiophiles. This two-disc set, provides you with a unique mix of diagnostic tracks, calibration tools, and system conditioning aids that will help unlock the full potential of your sound system.

The System Solution Set-Up & Tuning Discs include tracks that range from the simple, such as channel checks and pink and white noise, to the more complex and unusual LEDR tracks, timed frequency sweeps, and repeat drum beats. Our sound engineers have incorporated specially designed tracks to facilitate full-range loudspeaker positioning and the integration of subwoofers, and have even included a number of useful “system service” functions.

These functions include degauss and burn-in signal tracks, both of which are essential precursors to fine-tuning your existing set-up or new components. Each of these helpful tracks is fully explained and expounded upon in a detailed instruction booklet, included with every disc set.

Nordost is proud to say that over the years our products have become integral components in preeminent recording studios around the world. This has given us the opportunity to incorporate musical selections recorded using Nordost cables as an exciting new feature on our set-up discs. These carefully curated tracks highlight specific aspects of system performance and will help you to further explore the subtleties of your newly-tuned system. This also means that Nordost users will have the ability to experience performances wired with Nordost from beginning to end!


  • Essential channel and phase checks
  • Multiple pink and white noise signals for speaker/room diagnostics
  • Sophisticated LEDR tests to optimize speaker placement
  • System maintenance tracks (Degauss and Burn-In)
  • Low-frequency tones specially designed and configured to map room modes and aid speaker placement or subwoofer positioning and integration.
  • Specially selected music tracks with detailed listening notes to further refine system performance


Nordost Playlist – February 2019

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this February.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY

  1. bury a friend—Billie Eilish—bury a friend
  2. Moretown Hop—Noam Pikelny—Universal Favorite
  3. BAGDAD – Cap.7:Liturgia—ROSALÍA—El Mal Querer
  4. Honey—Robyn—Honey
  5. Where’s The Catch? (feat. André 3000)—James Blake, André 3000—Assume Form
  6. Make You Feel My Love—Bob Dylan—Time Out Of Mind
  7. Woman—Cat Power, Lana Del Ray—Wanderer
  8. Beautiful Strangers—Kevin Morby—Beautiful Stranger b/w No Place to Fall
  9. Suzanne—Bermuda Triangle—Suzanne
  10. Pristine—Snail Mail—Lush


Nelson Brill Reviews Emerging Artists In The Boston Area

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill takes a look at some young, emerging artists in the Boston area, including Noah Preminger. Preminger is well acquainted with Nordost, as he participated in an A/B test of our Ax Angel Pro Audio cables at EastSide Sound recording studios in NYC. You can watch the A/B test here: Nordost w/ Newvelle Records at EastSide Sound studio.  


By Nelson Brill      DECEMBER 8, 2018  

Young jazz musicians are like fledging rock climbers: they hammer in their toe-holds into the granite face of music’s rich heritage and then swing out into free-wheeling space, letting the winds of creative musicianship take them where it will. Several gifted jazz voyagers took to stages in the Boston area recently and brought along their audiences to soar with them in flights of fancy, funk and daring.

On September 29th, artists appearing at the annual Berklee College of Music (“Berklee”) Beantown Jazz Festival (“Beantown Festival”; delivered colorful and vital music before a rollicking multi-racial crowd thronging the streets of Boston’s South End. This show of diversity at the Beantown Festival, in both music and community spirit, brings out the best in Boston.


One band that stood out in its fresh funk and energy was Aggregate Prime, a quintet anchored by the magnetic drummer (and Berklee faculty member) Ralph Peterson. Peterson was a swaggering presence at his drum kit along with his grooving partners: guitarist Mark Whitfield; pianist Davis Whitfield ( Mark’s son); sax and flutist Gary Thomas and bassist Curtis Lundy.

Franklin Kiermyer

The young Whitfield was particularly inspired on his keyboard. He dashed from flowing runs to clusters of blues chords with an effortless swing that had the crowd leaning in to hear every dynamic pounce. At one point, Davis dueled with his father in a blistering funky romp that had the elder Whitfield’s guitar (in all its shimmering colors and staccato high picks) curling beautifully around his son’s keyboard hits and the smart snap of Peterson’s snare and hi-hat. Keep an ear out for more from young dynamo Davis Whitfield at his inquisitive, spirited keyboard.


Another feisty young juggernaut of creative power is the dynamic duo of Boston-based saxophonist Noah Preminger and trumpeter Jason Palmer (both graduates of The New England Conservatory; These two young lions lit up the bandstand at the Beantown Festival and then, on October 18th, performed a captivating show in the confines of Scullers Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA. (“Scullers”;

Republic of Jazz

The young Preminger and Palmer share a special musical synergy that is telepathic – full of curiosity and exploration. Individually, each possesses a fearless reach in their original compositions and in their solo artistry. Their music is challenging, angular and kinetic. On their ballads, entwining their trumpet and sax colors, they can sound deeply meditative and earthy with a directness of soul (saturated with breathy low sax bellows or delicately soft trumpet slurring).

All of this creative play was captured at Preminger’s concert at Scullers which featured Palmer on trumpet, Kim Cass on bass and Dan Weiss on drums. Cass has been a longtime musical partner with Preminger (both in concert and on his recordings) and he always brings a creative bass foundation with funky string slaps, rich harmonic holds and his pungent swing. As for Weiss, I have highlighted him before in these pages, most recently in his performance with intrepid saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and guitarist Rez Abbasi in their beautiful Indo-Pak Coalition concert at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art and on their soulful album, Agrima [].  I can think of no young drummer more zestful of rhythmic spirit than Weiss on his lithe drums.

At their Scullers show, nothing was beyond the reach of these young explorers: from the blues to bebop to the riches of Baroque music. Preminger focused on his latest recording, Genuinity [Criss Cross Jazz], a spiky sweet and exuberant collection, reflecting Preminger’s searching creativity and his instrument’s boisterous (yet keenly meditative and expressive) range.


The young lad can play. On his version of Lightning Hopkins’ “Trouble In Mind,” Preminger’s tenor sax shrieked up high to start his solo, then built on slow rolls and raspy tones down low (with several belches) to capture the full arching motion of this slow blues romp. On Preminger’s “Halfway To Hartford,” (the frenetic opening salvo on Genuinity), Preminger first checked his instrument’s neck-string (to make sure it was in place for his furious ride) and then plunged into a rollicking, wacky colorful duel with Weiss, flinging huge carouses of splintered runs, blaring trills, breathy spills and fury in the direction of Weiss’ light/dark pulses on his nimble snare and wood rim hits.

“Hartford” was also a platform for trumpeter Palmer to soar where he formed metallic short bursts and colors up and down his fluid register – bursting, slurring and staccato bright – chasing fragments of melody in his dreaming. There is always something bright, inventive and expressive contained in Palmer’s solos; sparks that are never out of the firmament of the melodic themes he explores.


For instance, on Preminger’s soulful piece inspired by the Baroque composer, George Frideric Handel, Palmer climbed his nimble register to deliver a raw blast of high blurts, (rapid fire against Preminger’s tender rolls and slow descent), throwing in a bit of creative molten heat to this otherwise tender and glowing ballad. From the meditative glow of Handel, the band effortlessly shifted gears to careen to the grooves of Preminger’s fast little ditty, “Happy Happy!” with Palmer scorching his staccato metallic phrases up high and Weiss tying everything together with his nimble snare and cymbals; his crackling wood rim hits and a flash of swirling brushes (light as a spider alighting on a web).

To fully explore these young voyagers’ sounds, take a listen to Preminger’s Genuinity.  It captures the creative range of Preminger’s original compositions and his colleagues’ majestic play in a recording that delivers all the up-close energy and tactile heat of this forward thinking band. The recording is excellent with only a lack of depth and at times, a bit of too-wide panning of Weiss’ drum kit (with one cymbal far left from the rest of his drum kit) that can, at moments, distract from all of the great creative action.

More naturally recorded is Preminger’s 2016 CD, Meditations On Freedom, [Dry Bridge Records; ] where Preminger, Palmer, Cass and their burbling pal on drums, Ian Froman, explore Preminger’s original tunes (and a few choice rock and soul nuggets) that speak to Preminger of our political times and inspire calls for social change. This particular recording is more intimate in that it was recorded in the beautiful space of Futura Productions in Roslindale, MA. ( and presents all players naturally without the distraction of any artificial panning of instruments. Preminger’s arrangements (such as on the bluesy swing of George Harrison’s “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace On Earth” or the stoic majesty of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”) are astonishing in their compositional skill and their bracing expression. The entwining of Preminger and Palmer on these originals is beautiful to hear as sax and trumpet meld in slow meditative flow (as on “Mother Earth” or “Broken Treaties”) or in nimble swing (with Cass and Froman adding their dapper swing) on Preminger’s elegantly strident, “We Have A Dream”.

Berkshire Fine Arts

And speaking of elegance and swing, (with firepower to spare), there is nothing more sonically fun and inventive than hearing sparkling new compositions emerging from the mind of young Boston-based composer (and Berklee faculty member), Ayn Inserto, writing for her talented Jazz Orchestra. The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra squeezed into the intimate confines of the Lilypad in Cambridge, MA. ( on November 12th and took the place by storm. The group heated up the capacity audience with their blasts of woodwind and brass colors, all taken from their new album, Down The Rabbit Hole ( “Rabbit Hole”)  [Summit Records]. Rabbit Hole was recorded at a Berklee College of Music studio and delivers all of this vivacious band in crisp open sound, with good width and depth to its soundstage and excellent image dimensionality (where, with a quality component audio system, you can visualize each player on the layered stage with nice pockets of air surrounding each instrument’s attack). Of particular highlight is drummer Austin McMahon with his granite time foundation and effortless burble. On this new recording, McMahon propels the orchestra from deep in his pocket position, with nice depth and natural dimension to his light sway on his drum kit.

Jazz After Hours

Inserto’s compositions are like whirligigs: one moment they point in a pensive direction with simmering woodwind and brass colors supported by big chunks of deep bass and piano pulses. When the winds of change come, her compositions fire up with bebop glee, spinning and soaring with brass, woodwinds and piano colors galloping around unpredictable tempos or whiplash melodic turns. At such moments, members of her Jazz Orchestra always glance at each other with knowing smiles all around, clearly honored to be a part of Inserto’s challenging and joyful creations.

Inserto led her Orchestra at the Lilypad in tunes from Rabbit Hole in their album’s sequence, beginning with Inserto’s “Three And Me.” This tune combined all elements of Inserto’s fresh and colorful music: tight, curling and punchy grooves that left space for improvisations to soar. The piece combined contrasting colors of Inserto’s fancy: a glittering bright solo from trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal; a gutsy, over the top brawl (of fluid register chaos) from tenor saxophonist Mark Zaleski and a warm last lap from John Fedchock’s soft trombone.

John Fedchock

Fedchock also lent his glowing trombone to turn the soft churn of “Mister and Dudley”, a curvaceously swinging number that also contained Inserto’s love for a swelling undertow of deep brass colors. The title track whizzed by on a hurtling groove pumping on Sean Farias’ bass; Kathy Olson’s baritone sax and Jennifer Wharton’s bass trombone. This dazzling gem ended with the band holding a unified high trill, in bone-rattling fashion. Also tumultuous was the duet between soprano saxophonist Alan Chase and alto saxophonist Rick Stone as they took “Part 2” of Inserto’s “Ze Teach and Me” to its ultimate knotty height by sending their frenetic conversation of trills, squeals and comic rolls into the packed hall.


Leave it to the ever-creative Inserto to conclude the concert, (and her Rabbit Hole), with a soulful arrangement of the classic, “I’ll Be There”, originally recorded by the Jackson Five. Her arrangement started with a softly meditative solo from pianist Jason Yeager, using his soft touch to illuminate glowing blues chords and meditative note combinations. Yeager left his last note hanging precipitously to be plucked in the air by trumpeter Jeff Claassen as he cast the chorus of “I’ll Be There” (with his deep Fluegelhorn tone) out into the swirling colors provided by his partners. Inserto’s creation ended on a chorus of clarinets in woody, upturned crescendo – soaring with youthful energy and promise.

-Noah Preminger continues his association with the stellar audiophile label, Newvelle Records, ( ).  See Newvelle’s website for all details regarding their upcoming 4th season of subscription LP releases, including this new one from Preminger. Note too that Newvelle Records and the reference audiophile cable company, Nordost ( have collaborated by utilizing Nordost cabling in the recording studio to further improve the sound quality of these intimate recording sessions.

-Jason Palmer has just released his recording, Rhyme and Reason [on GiantStep Arts; a non profit organization dedicated to supporting musical projects of its artists – see more at . The recording is a double album of Palmer originals recorded live at the Jazz Gallery in NYC with the superb lineup of Mark Turner on tenor sax; Matt Brewer on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums.

Nordost Playlist – November 2018

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this November.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY

  1. Rang Tang Ring Toon—Mountain Man—Magic Ship
  2. Try a Little Tenderness—Dee Dee Bridgewater—Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready
  3. Right Now—Dirty Projectors—Lamp Lit Prose
  4. A Pirate Looks At Forty—Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds—Jack Johnson & Friends: Best of Kokua Festival, A Benefit For The Kokua Hawaii Foundation
  5. Trampled Underfoot—Vanessa Fernandez—When the Levee Breaks
  6. Yip Roc Heresy—Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra—Laughing In Rhythm: The Best Of The Verve Years
  7.  Love Is For Me—The Meters—Rejuvenation
  8. Alien (Hold On to Your Dreams)—Gil Scott-Heron—Nothing New
  9. Over Everything—Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile—Lotta Sea Lice
  10. Freelance—Toro y Moi—Freelance


Dennis Davis Reviews Nordost Sponsored Jazz Quintet at RMAF

By Dennis Davis, The Audio Beat

Let’s face it—most people who attend hi-fi shows don’t make the trek there to attend live concerts.  Musical performances at shows are usually limited to solo performers who have recorded on niche audiophile labels where the biggest selling point is often the label and its recording process.  Performers who have contracts with Universal, Sony, Blue Note or ECM are not in the habit of performing for a bunch of tired audiophiles, who pay nothing at the door and show up for the concert if they feel like it.

In that context, when I learned that Nordost was presenting a concert of jazz musicians from the Newvelle record label, I was excited.  When I saw the list of performers, my jaw dropped.  On trumpet was Dave Douglas.  I’ve attended many Dave Douglas concerts over the last twenty plus years, dating back to his days with John Zorn, and own many CDs he’s recorded as a leader.  Elan Mehler, co-founder of Newvelle Records, played piano at this session and his style has become familiar to me over the label’s three seasons of uniformly great releases.  I knew little of New York based acoustic bass player Simón Willson, except for his contribution to Newvelle’s Piano Noir LP.  However, I got together with the band the evening before the concert, and couldn’t take my eyes off Simón, whose energy was infectious.  John Gunther, composer and multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinet and flute) has recorded extensively as part of New York’s “downtown” jazz scene.  As associate professor at University of Colorado Boulder, and director of their jazz studies program, he was the group’s local performer for the concert, and had warmed up the ensemble the day before at a campus workshop. Singer Dominique Eade recorded twice with Ran Blake, and I loved her well-received 2017 CD, Town and Country.  In addition to a long career as an instructor at New England Conservatory, she has an extensive catalog of recordings.

For those new to this record label, Newvelle issues a new record every other month, sold as a yearly subscription.  Each LP is a work of art—the clear vinyl LP is packaged in a beautiful foldout cover, embellished with commissioned artwork and prose, and is supported by extensive information on the label’s website ( I’ve heard every record released over the last three years and Newvelle’s consistency of high quality is unequaled in today’s music industry.  Watch out Blue Note and ECM!

The concert was held at the Denver Tech Center Hilton Garden Inn, in a large high ceiling room where I had attended other events.  I recalled fairly poor sound at those non-musical events that had involved a PA system.  Fortunately, Nordost arranged for a professional sound engineer to set up the room and sound system.  He brought in a very high quality sound system and mixing board and the results were spectacular, turning a pig’s ear room into a very good sounding hall.  The stage itself was a little small for the group, and had an effect on my ability to capture good pictures, but the players adjusted well to the somewhat cramped space.

Nordost has installed its professional cabling at the New York recording studio where Newvelle Records records all its sessions, Eastside Sound.  Beginning with Newvelle’s fourth season, all recordings will be made through Nordost cables.  I’ve reviewed the first three seasons for various publications, and look forward to comparing the sound of the new studio recordings. In the meantime, Newvelle’s artists are getting the additional exposure from the Nordost involvement.

The concert featured never before heard compositions from Dave Douglas, as well as material from Newvelle’s LP “Piano Noir”, and material from its third season.  In Elan Mehler’s words, the band, “is dancing between some basic intersections of style and genre—jazz and folk music, poetry and improvisation, prose and composition.”  They opened with a composition from American folk music singer/songwriter Jean Ritchie, an Appalachian song “West Virginia Mine Disaster” recorded by Dominique Eade on her most recent CD Town And Country (Sunnyside).  Next up was “Bear It To Heart” from the “Piano Noir” LP, that featured Elan Mehler and Simón Willson from this group.  The group then launched into a Douglas composition taken from a Jack Kerouac haiku, “Arms folded to the Moon”. I confess that until the middle of the concert I hadn’t recognized vocalist Dominique Eade, but by this third song of the concert, it hit me.  Her resemblance to vocalist Jeanne Lee on The Newest Sound Around (RCA LPM-2500 with pianist Ran Blake) was immediately obvious. I slapped my head over my short memory.  I own two of her CDs and am a big fan. That third song mesmerized me.  The composition, Eade’s singing, and the bands’ excellent ensemble playing had me laying down my pad and pen for the rest of the concert.  True, my hands were engaged in taking photographs, but I was captivated.

This was a performance far above those typically found hi-fi shows.  I searched my memory for comparisons and the only hi-fi show concert I could recall was at a show in New York well over a decade ago, featuring saxophone great Joe Lovano. But merely comparing it to hi-fi show concerts is selling it short.  I attend concerts (most frequently in the San Francisco Bay area) on a regular basis and jazz concerts at least a few times monthly.  This concert was among my favorites of this year, and one I will not soon forget. It sent me home to listen to my Newvelle Records LPs and Dave Douglas and Dominique Eade CDs.  What more can you ask for from a great concert?

Nordost Playlist – October 2018


Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this October.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY

  1. Don’t Miss It—James Blake—Don’t Miss It
  2. Say My Name—Maimouna Youssef—Vintage Babies
  3. King Of Spain—Tallest Man On Earth—The Wild Hunt
  4. Du gamla (That’s Alright Since My Soul Got A Seat Up In The Kingdom)—Håkan Hellström—Du gamla du fria
  5. Getting Over You—Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt—Across The Borderline
  6. You, Dear—Eloise—You, Dear
  7. Golden Earlings—Jan Lundgren Trio—Jan Lundgren Trio Plays the Music of Victor Young
  8. Mary Don’t You Weep-Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version—Prince—Piano & A Microphone 1983
  9. Only Love—Ben Howard—Every Kingdom
  10. Twice—Little Dragon—Little Dragon


Nordost is bringing a live jazz performance to RMAF!

This year at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Nordost is excited to bring you a live music experience that you won’t want to miss! For two shows only, Nordost is sponsoring the debut of a new ensemble, featuring music from Elan Mehler’s Newvelle release, “Piano Noir”, and presenting some never-before heard works from Dave Douglas. Enjoy as the band dances between intersections of style and genre, making for a unique mix of jazz and folk music, poetry and improvisation, prose and composition.

The concert will be held across the street from the show at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Head over for either the 2pm or 6:30pm show on October 6 for this special musical performance!

Here’s a little information about the incredible artists that make up the new ensemble:

Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas is a prolific trumpeter, composer, educator and entrepreneur from New York City, known for the stylistic breadth of his work and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously. While his career spans more than 50 recordings as a leader, his active projects include his quintet, Sound Prints, Riverside, Present Joys, and High Risk. His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Doris Duke Artist Award and two GRAMMY® nominations.

As a composer, Douglas has received commissions from a variety of organizations including the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Essen Philharmonie, The Library of Congress, Stanford University, and Monash Art Ensemble. He is currently on faculty at the Mannes School of Music and is a Guest Coach for the Juilliard Jazz Composer’s Ensemble. Douglas is also a co-founder and president of the Festival of New Trumpet Music and Artistic Director of the Bergamo Jazz Festival. In 2005, Douglas founded Greenleaf Music, an umbrella company for his recordings, sheet music, podcast, as well as the music of other artists in the modern jazz idiom.

Dominique Eade

Dominique Eade is a vocalist, improviser, and composer whose wide-ranging work with artists from Anthony Braxton and Ran Blake to Stanley Cowell and Dave Holland over the past three decades has earned critical recognition from Down Beat, The New York Times, Jazz Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic Monthly and many other publications here and abroad. She has recorded seven CDs under her own name, including two for RCA Victor. A frequent nominee and two-time winner of the Boston Music Awards, she was nominated for best new artist by the First Annual Jazz Awards (New York) in 1998 and was voted one of the top ten for Best Jazz Singer and was in the ‘Rising Star’ category in multiple Downbeat critic’s polls. Eade’s most recent recording, “Town and Country (Sunnyside)”, was named one of the top ten recordings of 2017 by critics in the Jazz Journalists Association, The Boston Globe, NPR Jazz Critic’s Poll, and many others. Her performance with Ran Blake at the Park Avenue Armory was named one of the ten best performances of 2017 by the New York Times. In 2007, she received the Outstanding Alumni Award from NEC where she has been on the faculty since 1984. Her students include Grammy winners Luciana Souza and Sara Jarosz, Roberta Gambarini, Rachel Price (Lake Street Dive), Sara Serpa, Michael Mayo, Jo Lawry (Sting), Akenya Seymour (Chance the Rapper, Noname), Sofia Rei, Aoife O’Donovan (I’m With Her, YoYo Ma), Richard Saunders (Third Story), and many others.

John Gunther

John Gunther is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who plays the Saxophone, Clarinet, and Flute. With a restless musical spirit, he enjoys exploring all forms of jazz, from traditional to avant-garde, as well as classical music, world music, and experimental electronic music. He has performed or recorded with many notable jazz artists including Dave Douglas, Ron Miles, Christian McBride, Bobby Watson, Wallace Roney, Larry Goldings, Tom Harrel, Dewey Redman, Joe Williams, The Woody Herman Orchestra, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and The Maria Schneider Orchestra.

As part of New York city’s “downtown” music scene for many years, he produced five recordings for Creative Improvised Music Projects (CIMP) and is co-founder of the contemporary jazz ensembles, “Spooky Actions” and “Convergence.” John is an Associate Professor in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he directs the Thompson Jazz Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. from New York University, where his research examined incorporating techniques of serial music with improvisation.  In 2007, he received an “Innovative Seed Grant” to create the Boulder Laptop Orchestra and to further explore the intersection of music, performance, art, and technology.   His work with BLOrk has led to further collaboration with the STEM program at CU, exploring informal science education through the arts.  His most recent recording, “Safari Trio” with Brad Shepik and John Hadfield, can be found on the Dazzle Jazz Record Label.

Elan Mehler

Elan Mehler was born in Boston, studied jazz and classical music at New York University, and resided in NYC, playing music with various ensembles for ten years, before moving to Paris in 2010. Elan has released 6 albums as a leader on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label and Challenge Records, including his solo piano debut, “Early Sunday Morning”, in 2014. Elan has toured his bands in major festivals and venues worldwide, receiving generous accolades from The Guardian, Downbeat, Jazzwise, Jazztimes, and many other publications.

In 2015, Elan started Newvelle Records with partner Jean-Christophe Morisseau. Newvelle Records is a vinyl-only, high end label featuring leading lights from the NYC Jazz scene.

Elan’s newest record, featuring Bill Frisell on guitar, “TJ and the Revenge”, is due out in September on Little Lost Records.

Simón Willson

Simón Willson is a Chilean born, Brooklyn based bassist and composer. After graduating from high school, Willson decided to pursue his musical studies in the United States. He graduated from the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston. As an eclectic and in demand sideman, he has toured with a host of different artists in Europe, the US, and South America. He has worked with a number of relevant jazz figures, such as Ethan Iverson, Michael Blake, Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas, Jim Black, Jason Palmer, George Garzone, and Frank Carlberg, among many others. In addition to his sideman work, he co-leads the bands Great on Paper and Earprint. The latter won the “Best Debut Album” category of the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll in 2016.


Hilton Garden Inn
October 6
2:00pm – 3:00pm
6:30pm – 7:30pm


Nordost Playlist – August 2018

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this August.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY

  1. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)—Thelonious Monk—Solo Monk
  2. Trick Of The Light—The Raah Project—Score
  3. Hold On – Remastered 2010—John Lennon—Plastic Ono Band
  4. Miles Away—Phil Cook—People Are My Drug
  5. I Dream a Highway—Elan Mehler—The After Suite
  6. Kounkoun—Ounou Sangaré—Mogoya
  7. Cool Cat – Remastered 2011—Queen—Hot Space (2011 Remaster)
  8. Turn Your Lights On—Emanative, Ahu—Time
  9. Glue—Bernice—Puff: In The Air Without A Shape
  10. La Di Da—The Internet—Hive Mind


Nelson Brill Reviews Jazz Pianists from the Newport Jazz Festival and Beyond

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill looks back on past performances at the Newport Jazz Festival, as he anticipates this year’s upcoming lineup.


By Nelson Brill

JUNE, 2017

Pianists have always been front and center at the Newport Jazz Festival (“Newport”) since it was founded in 1954 by the incomparable jazz impresario, George Wein. This year’s edition of Newport (sponsored by Natixis) runs from August 3-5 (see for full schedule) and judging by past years, this year’s edition promises more keyboard verve and magic.

Last year, Newport was teeming with forward-thinking pianists. In a dazzling solo concert, pianist David Torkanowsky dug deep into a Hoagy Carmichael number that sashayed with smart New Orleans’ inspired rhythms. Under one of Newport’s larger tents, a global street party was led by pianist Danilo Perez and his Group.

Twin-engine percussionists Adam Cruz and Roman Diaz propelled the party with Yoruba chants and resonant conga hits. Perez cascaded sprightly on his keyboard and trumpeter Avishai Cohen and saxophonist Chris Potter lent powerful solos, all building to a cacophonous eruption of soaring colors.

Andrea Canter

Another highlight from Newport 2017 was the appearance of pianist Vijay Iyer on several stages. He first led his Sextet in exploring originals from their 2017 recording, Far From Over [ECM;], a richly textured recording that pulls the listener into Iyer’s challenging pieces.

Iyer is keen to explore contrasts in dynamics, instrumental colors and unpredictable meter shifts in his music. Far From Over opens with his composition, “Poles,” drawing on lightness (the softness of Iyer’s keyboard touches and Graham Haynes’ floating flugelhorn solo) and angular fury (Steve Lehman’s spilling alto sax solo). The locomotive “Down To The Wire” also contains shifting contrasts: an opening Iyer solo combines sweet flashes of concise phrasing followed by a  torrent of notes, brimming with concussive bass chords. Iyer and his talented Sextet range from light punches of funk, (such as on the slinky beauty of “Nope”) to the R & B of the propulsive “Wake” – knotty and unpredictable and then smooth as silk in the soulful foundation laid down by bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey (with his blade-like hits on his closed hi-hat).

At one point in the Sextet’s Newport 2017 performance, Iyer soloed in a tranquil moment (with a twinkling flourish of light notes) while tenor saxophonist Mark Shim spun nimble runs shifting in and out of Iyer’s soft piano colors. Iyer and Shim’s beautiful duet reminded of Iyer’s recent recording where he teams up with another intrepid partner, the fearless trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, on their glowing 2016 recording, A Cosmic Rhythm With Every Stoke [ECM].

The intimate meeting between these two consummate artists will challenge your ears with its music that verges on silence – slow and viscid – contrasted with its leaps of searing power. The excellent sonics of Cosmic Rhythm ensnare beautifully the full harmonic body of Iyer’s piano as well as the metallic blaze and bite of Smith’s expressive trumpet.

Cal Alumni Assoc

In addition to Iyer’s vital partnership with Wadada Leo Smith, Iyer also clearly shares a special telepathic partnership with his intrepid drummer, Tyshawn Sorey, a member of Iyer’s Sextet and an accomplished composer in his own right. For instance, take a listen to Sorey’s original compositions on his recording  Alloy [Pi Recordings] joined by pianist Cory Smythe and bassist Christopher Tordini.

Sorey’s music stretches the sounds of the jazz trio into new territory with its mixture of driving  forces (the heady “Template”) and slow, repeating meanders as in Sorey’s “A Love Song” – highlighted by Smythe’s gorgeous piano that glows with harmonic richness and repeating, fragile patterns.

I was looking for the chance to hear Sorey again at his drum kit and such a joyous treat presented itself on May 4th, as Sorey joined with Iyer and bassist Nick Dunston for an intimate concert at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA. ( Although Sorey employed only a single large cymbal, a snare drum, a hi-hat and a bass drum for this concert, he created an astounding variety of sounds from his minimalist kit: the lightest of brush scamper to the most startling blasts of percussive force.

Jazz De Gama

The music moved uninterrupted through a series of musical chapters created by Iyer’s rich piano lines and melodies woven from classical references; rock anthems; pixelated one-note hits and Monk-like quips. The young Dunston interwove his gracious bass within Iyer’s storylines with a preference for letting his notes hang in the air (for their maximum harmonic richness) or utilizing  languid slides that slipped and fell as they may. For his part, Sorey kept all of this drama ignited with fluid snare runs; glows from a single drumstick hitting the bull’s-eye of his cymbal or attacking his bass drum with startling concussive effect. As all this trio chemistry and drama unfolded, its evolving beauty was captured in excellent coherent and textured sound by sound engineer Dean DeMatteo at this spirited Regattabar show.

Geri Allen: allaboutjazz

Returning to Newport 2017, Iyer was also seen at his keyboard performing in a moving tribute to the singular pianist and composer, Geri Allen, who tragically passed on a few weeks before Newport 2017 (where she was scheduled to appear with drummer Teri Lyne Carrington and bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding). Carrington and Spalding organized this Tribute to Allen and were joined by Iyer for a joyful collective romp on “Geri’s Song”- a Calypso inspired number that fired up Iyer, Spalding and Carrington in joyful, grooving celebration of Allen.

Esperanza Spaulding: New York Times

Also taking a turn at the keyboard in this Geri Allen Tribute at Newport was another of my favorite young pianists, Christian Sands, who took flight with his usual exuberance and velvety tumble.


Sands has always been one to watch, whether in his piano seat in bassist Christian McBride’s band or now as a band leader in his own right, as on his new recording, Reach [Mack Avenue Records;].

Reach is a recording with a big boned and sparkling sonic presence, offering an upfront perspective to all the action. Take a listen to the opener “Armando’s Song”, one of the disc’s highlights, and if your audio system is up to the task, you will follow each of Yasushi Nakamura’s pungent bass pumps and toe-tap to the throttle of drummer Marcus Baylor’s snare/cymbal combinations. (Baylor emerges on this recording with bright and gutsy presence throughout, another young talent on the drums. Also check out his superb 2017 audiophile gem of a recording with his partner in The Baylor Project, the glorious singer Jean Baylor, on their Grammy nominated The Journey [CD Baby].

Marcus Baylor: Jeff Forman

Taking inspiration from Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Rhumba” (a version of which appears on Corea’s 2003 audiophile gem, Rendezvous In New York [Hybrid SACD; Stretch Records] with Corea joined by the brilliant Bobby McFerrin in a brilliant chase of piano and vocals), Sands makes Corea’s song his own by twisting it into a rollicking jam of flowing runs and surging piano note flourishes.

On another highlight from Reach, the blues surge of “Song of the Rainbow People,” Sand captures the majesty of this cut in glorious fashion, utilizing deep chords and rolling them into thunderous lyrical waves. Sands is also joined by saxophonist Marcus Stickland for a boiling “Pointing West” (all curvaceous in its bebop heat) and by guitarist Gilad Hekselman (for a softly grooving “Reaching For The Sun”with Hekselman’s guitar notes trim and flowing next to Baylor’s light wood rims).

New York Times

Things then get intensely funky when Sands and Hekselman join Baylor and Christian McBride for a hard-hitting “Use Me” featuring a blast of guitar sear from Hekselman’s solo and a funky hoe-down between McBride and Sands in which Sands lays down a clutch of low-end hurls and stride piano next to McBride’s feisty bowing.

Reach ends with a soft caress on Sand’s version of the classic, “Somewhere Out There”. In this intimate moment, Sands twists and turns upwards on his keyboard to an optimistic place with a final flutter up his colorful and expressive range, beckoning sunshine and striving on.

London Jazz News

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Eleanor McEvoy Records Her First Direct-Cut Album with Nordost

When we hear that one of our favorite artists is heading into the studio, it always piques our interest. When that artist is heading into the studio to record a direct-cut album, then that really gets the juices flowing—we couldn’t wait to get involved! That’s exactly what happened the week after the Munich Show. While we were all recovering from the show, the bier, the wurst and the spargel, our Ax Angel Cables were on their way to Air Studios in North London, where Eleanor McEvoy was getting ready to embark on one of “the most nerve-wracking experiences of (her) recording career”. Of course, Eleanor is no stranger to either recording or performing in front of a live audience, but she described the direct-cut experience as “not just different, but a whole different kind of pressure. One that asks different questions and definitely requires different responses.” Fortunately, this wasn’t producer Mike Valentine’s first direct-cut project and, along with the experienced staff at Air Studios, a calm, focused and creative atmosphere soon prevailed.

With just guitar, vocals and piano accompaniment, there really is no place to hide, musically and artistically, so the whole one-take/multi-track structure of a direct-cut LP side screams caution. The whole point of the exercise is to capture the immediacy and artistic tension of the live performance – without the benefit, energy and feedback of a live audience. The result is a musical tightrope that was negotiated with the aid of three weeks of intensive rehearsals and two takes per side. We’re still waiting on the vinyl test-pressings, but the digital copies are in and the results are everything we hoped for. A mixture of established and new material, the eight tracks will be available on LP, CD and analog tape, as well as downloadable from the Chasing The Dragon website.