Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mass Ave Project

Mass Ave Project - Mass Ave Project - 2009 - Mass Ave Project

Mass Ave Project is composed of some of the most talented young graduates and students from the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Massachusetts. They first came together in Summer, 2007 for the 7th annual Hermitage Jazz Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, and perform around the Boston area, impressing audiences with their dynamic brand of funk, which is a fusion of many jazz styles, including smooth, free, and fusion. There are some really good grooves, and harmonies on the album. The band's music has been described as "Jamiroquai meets John Scofield meets Herbie Hancock". The tracks are all original instrumentals. In 2008, the MOJO Concert Agency invited them to play at the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and the band also played in shows at clubs such as The Duke, and Dizzy in Holland. The Mass Ave Project also performed at the Neva Delta International Folk Blues Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. For such young people, this album is full of exceptional jazz and jazz fusion, and shows great creativity. It's great to know that young people are following in the footsteps of artists like Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, and Herbie Hancock. Find out more about pianist/keyboardist, Evgeny Lebedev @ http://www.iakovkremenskiy.com/live/ and guitarist, Iakov Kremenskiy @ www.iakovkremenskiy.com and watch out to see how some of these musicians progress


1. Free
2. Back Bay
3. Mass Ave
4. Prophecy
5. Natives
6. Sunday Morning

All tracks composed by Mass Ave Project / Band members


Sax - Nikolay Moiseenko
Bass - DJ Ginyard, Evan Marien
Keys - Evgeny Lebedev
Drums - Jeffrey Villanueva
Guitar - Iakov Kremenskiy


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Mike said...

Most of the things I've heard about the Berklee College have been negative. Their facilities are not state-of-the-art, the campus is shoddy and dirty in places, the rent is astronomical both on and off campus, the intuition is absurd and their diploma does not do anything for the aspiring musician (as expected). They're wrapped up in the old jazz idiom yet they advertise themselves as being for the contemporary songwriter. So which is it? Just because you learn how to play a bunch of standards in the jazz idiom does not equate to writing (great) music. I've seen some demonstrations from their professors and was thoroughly underwhelmed. Me thinks one would be better off just learning this stuff at home or from an accomplished, proven musician. The latter can be tricky since most great players are reluctant to teach. But then I don't see what qualifies these professors to teach as they're anything but 'accomplished'. Otherwise you'd hear about them, but you don't.

Sorry for coming down so hard but if there's one thing I despise it's frauds. People are too wrapped up in living in the past. We already had Coltraine, Miles, Evans, Montgomery, etc. Who wants to spend the rest of their life living in someone else's shadow?

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Mike. I cannot comment on Berklee College. I have never seen the place, been in it, or know anybody personally who has been a student there. Many musicians have played jazz standards brilliantly by artists like Ellington, Armstrong, etc. Of course, when you try to imitate the jazz styles of these artists, and cannot play with any ability, as many "musicians" try to do, then it can become unbearable. Have you heard Becker, Fagen, and Keith Carlock playing Ellington's "Limbo Jazz" on the Marian McPartland Piano Jazz CD. Certainly no "living in the past" there. these guys are obviously influenced by the old Jazz giants, and play the standards very well. I could listen to that stuff all day, if it's played well...by any artist. I WILL say that some of the modern day jazz or jazz fusion compositions are crap. However, if somebody wants to introduce people to great artists like Coltrane, Corea, Armstrong, Brubeck, etc. by covering their music, well then I've no objections, AS LONG AS IT'S PLAYED WITH THE APPROPRIATE MUSICAL ABILITY !!! If somebody is going to play their own brand of jazz, fusion, whatever, then try and make the compositions original. No harm in using a few "borrowed" influences...(Song For My Father/Rikki Don't Lose That Number!!!). If you are going to do covers, then for God's sake, play them well, and do them justice. That's my epistle for today, Mike. TTU soon. Hey, this conversation could go on forever!

Mike said...

One of my cousin's friends went to Berklee, graduated and has been playing gigs in small clubs and bars ever since. Certainly nothing is guaranteed in any music college but the fact remains that a diploma in Berklee doesn't constitute much for nothing in and of itself.

Donald Fagen went to Berklee but just ended up learning fundamental theory and didn't delve any deeper because, he said, he lacked the discipline required. He learned most of what he knew by listening to and playing along with his favorite records.

Those jazz masters of the past never underwent formal training in jazz because there weren't any jazz schools back then. Jazz was a movement and people were blazing trails left and right. There wasn't all this perversion of trying to make poor man clones of X musician. Many of those great players had formal classical training or no training whatsoever. What made them special was that, instead of simply copying someone else's style, most of what they learned was directly from the musicians they heard and compositions they liked -- a directly intuitive experience which no college can emulate. That's why one can find correlations between their playing/compositions and standards of the day.

Standards can be played, beautifully, if done by the right person with the right feel and passion. And I don't see the problem with introducing the standards to the new generation. I do, however, have a serious issue with the the stream of jazz musicians whose sole inheritence is to relive the past in night clubs.

A.O.O.F.C said...

I get your drift, Mike. I saw an excellent jazz quartet recently in a nightclub. They played everything from Deacon Blues to Song For My Father to Hello Dolly! They were good, and through in a few nice touches to many standards. The ironic thing is..they are reliving the past, but they got a hell of an ovation, and they pull in the crowds every night. They're not in it for the money. Of course, if McLaughlin or Steely Dan played my country, I know which artist I'd be going to see!

Mike said...

Right, they're a cover band. Certainly there's a lot of those around (e.g. the assorted SD cover groups), many of them talented, but it takes something more than mere talent. It takes personality, individualism, in order to stand out, and you lose that if you cover other people's material.

It goes without saying that the SD choice goes without question. That said, I don't know if/when they'll ever tour again. Is it even worth it at this point? What haven't they done live, a few obscure tunes from their wayback years? They'd need new material to support a new tour. But there's a possibility that Donald might tour with the advent of his upcoming album. Can you say "First day purchase"?

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Mike. No question..it does take personality and individualism to stand out. There's a long list of bands/artists with these qualities. Problem is - Hundreds of them are unheard of,and many great, original, and innovative albums by these artists sold very few units.I hate today's music scene, but there are so many "musicians" who lack any musical ability making megabucks. Many "real" musicians nowadays are "selling out" to put bread or caviar on the table!"Black Friday" has arrived in a big way for many great musicians. Last time I saw the Dan, I would have preferred a new lead singer. Let's face it. DF's great voice is no more, and the best session players in the business can't cover that up, so you're probably right about the touring. I'm still hoping that some day before I meet my maker, the Dan will rework the "2nd Arrangement"...And pigs might fly!!..P.S: "First Day Sale": Yes. Because we're going outa business. Everything must go

Mike said...

I don't know if it will be a first day sale, but I do know it will be a day one purchase on my part.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Mike. Me too. DF, WB, & SD are the only artists releasing albums that I would buy before hearing any of the tracks

Mike said...

That said, ever since Two Against Nature it's been rather easy to hear soundclips online before release. In fact, just tracking down those snippets before the release is its own little adventure. I remember tracking down the EMG clips about a week or so before release, and for MTC I searched high and low until I came across H Gang, What I Do and the title track (the latter was on some radio show in England which I streamed, but I digress).

Amazing what a hardcore fan will do just to hear any little snippet and any microcosm of additional info. I'd do the same for Jamiroquai's new album.

A.O.O.F.C said...

It's an addiction, but a good one. I remember tracking down Fagen's "Rhymes". I still haven't tracked down the Steely Damned's "Second Arrangement"!!...Noah's Ark, and The Holy Grail would be easier to locate!