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(Published: October 28, 2008)

Label's Upcoming Releases Include Projects from Established and Emerging Jazz and World and Alt Pop Music Artists

Motéma Music, the independent label which has released a continuous succession of critically acclaimed jazz releases from both well known and emerging jazz artists including Rufus Reid, Mark Cary, and Lynne Arriale, has signed with Allegro Distribution for the US and Canada.

"We really feel that Allegro is the perfect match for the next leg of Motéma's journey," said Jana Herzen, label president. "Like Motéma, Allegro is very focused on the need to stay current, and expand at the leading edge of the industry by seeking new and alternative avenues to bring quality artists and their music to a wider audience."

Motéma was originally launched in San Francisco by arts patrons to provide comprehensive career support for jazz artists with a track record of excellence. As it celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2008, Motéma is growing its jazz roots deeper with new singings such as Geri Allen's Refractions, a Guggenheim fellowship solo piano suite where Allen explores the genius of jazz innovators Herbie Hancock, Cecil Taylor and McCoy Tyner.

Motéma artists are renowned for their emotionally charged live performances, and two new live CDs will bear witness to that fact this fall: KJ Denhert's Dal Vivo A Umbria Jazz and Bujo Kevin Jones, Tenth World Live.

Motéma's new relationship with Allegro will begin in November of 2008 with a striking new jazz recording from guitar masters Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur, which will be released on Nov. 11th. The CD, titled Smile, is the first in Motéma's ‘Jazz Therapy' fundraising series produced in association with the Jazz Foundation of America. Award-winning critic Ira Gitler has already lauded these artists as an ‘eminently special guitar duo.' Another key jazz release this fall is the The Turning Gate from the New Jazz Composers Octet, the innovative ensemble behind Freddy Hubbard's recent comeback.

The first quarter of 2009 will bring a much-anticipated new release from Motéma's top selling artist, pianist Lynne Arriale. Titled Nuance, Arriale's 10th release and her third on Motéma will be a CD/DVD set featuring a brand new all-star ensemble - Randy Brecker, George Mraz and Anthony Pinciotti. Also scheduled for Q1 is bass phenom Charnett Moffett's label debut, an intensely creative project titled The Art of Improvisation, featuring guest spots by Living Colour's Will Calhoun and Real World recording artist Yungchen Lhamo, known as ‘The Voice of Tibet.'

Another standout in the first quarter will be the March debut of Painted on Water, a completely unique group featuring Turkish recording stars Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkin, who will tour the US with a visually stunning act featuring screen projections of artworks being created on the spot by a master of the ancient Turkish art of Ebru, or painting on water. This pop and jazz infused project is based on ancient Turkish folk tunes and will be supported by a major marketing campaign underwritten by Turkish promoter Alp Gunal in cooperation with Turkish government.

On the straight ahead jazz on the jazz front in April will be a new quintet release by Motéma artist Roni Ben-Hur featuring Louis Nash, Rufus Reid and the late Ronnie Mathews. Vocalist Amy London, whose 2007 debut, When I Look in Your Eyes, earned considerable critical acclaim, will release a new CD celebrating One Hundred Years of Johnny Mercer. Also coming in 2009 is a live project by the artist whose release launched the label in Feb 2003: drummer/percussionist Babatunde Lea, who has just completed a live recording of the first ever recorded tribute to the legendary vocalist Leon Thomas. This project features Ernie Watts, Patrice Rushen and Dwight Trible, and its release will coincide with Black History Month in February.

"The 2008-9 season is an expansive and important one for our label," explains Herzen, who, incidentally, is an artist as well and at work on her own second CD in collaboration with Charnett Moffett. "We have a great staff working with us including our newest exec, Paul Ewing, former Vice President and Regional Director for Warner Music, who has just come on as Chief Operating Officer, and Cary Goldberg of GoMedia, who have helped bring the company to a new level in the past year and are assisting with the transition to Allegro. We all look forward to locking arms with Allegro and working closely to develop this important new partnership."

About Motéma

Motéma, named for the word for heart in the African language of Lingala, is led by recording artist Jana Herzen along with a collaborative team of new and veteran music industry and community organizing professionals. The company is grounded in the conviction that high level, emotionally connected jazz and other creative improvisational music is an important food of the soul that while not always commercially viable, is an important and integral part of American and world culture. Motéma seeks to fulfill a growing need for artist career development by offering recording and promotion opportunities to highly qualified artists of power and distinction who, in label owner Jana Herzen's words, "know how to change the molecules in the room when they play."

As the music industry continues to evolve and independent labels proliferate, Motéma is differentiated not only by the caliber of its artists, but by its commitment to developing partners in the for-profit and not-for-profit corporate arenas to expand the reach of the vital and creative artists on its roster.

More Information: https://www.motema.com

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