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Pianist/Composer Lawrence Sieberth Readies Ambitious Jazz/Classical Project; ‘Musique Visuelle' - Music for Jazz Piano Trio, Ethnic Percussion & Orchestra
(Published: August 18, 2021)

For Immediate Release
August 18, 2021

Pianist/Composer Lawrence Sieberth Readies Ambitious Jazz/Classical Project; ‘Musique Visuelle' - Music for Jazz Piano Trio, Ethnic Percussion & Orchestra

New Orleans-based pianist, composer and producer Lawrence Sieberth has confirmed the October release of his ambitious ‘Musique Visuelle', a labor of love project that showcases joyful music for jazz piano trio, ethnic percussion and orchestra.

Sieberth is unusually adept at straddling the line between jazz and classical music (sometimes within the course of a single track,) a skill on display throughout the genre-bending ‘Musique Visuelle'. He is a musical alchemist at play and at work in his creative laboratory, and the result is a project that confidently defies the confines of comfortable categories. In essence, ‘Musique Visuelle' is ‘too jazzy for classical and too classical for jazz', and within that conflict lies the embrace of a unique energy that propels the collection.

In his album notes, below, Sieberth comments, "...music is a force that can express all the characteristics and emotional qualities, in all its gradations, of the human condition. This understanding is what makes great soundtracks for film, television and stage. Puccini's operas can move us to tears, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring caused riots. Music is powerful, an entity that touches the humanity in us all."

Diverse highlights fill the album, from opening track ‘Sus Ojos Espanoles', a creative tour de force that begins with a gently sweeping cinematic scope, before pivoting to whimsical piano, then back to full strings. ‘Twitter' is an asymmetrical, propulsive, jazzy winner. ‘El Gringo de Fuego' is an album highlight, a joyful and confident mix of piano, strings and horns. ‘Threads of the Weaver' opens as a delicate reverie, before shifting to its more expansive orchestral sound. ‘Brazilia' is as close to an ‘old-school dance hall' track as one might expect to find on such an eclectic album.

Lawrence Sieberth provides these thoughts about the project:
The history books tell us that perhaps Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony heralded the onset of music that tells a specific story or paints an aural picture of a particular scene. That may be true in the European tradition but for centuries every culture has had a music that has told a culturally rich story, music painting a picture in the mind of the listener.

In our modern day mindset, technology has played a dominant role in the way in which we perceive art. It is almost as if technology and art have pushed each other forward simultaneously, as if motion pictures and its evolutionary counterpart, the television, had to evolve from the imagery of masterworks such as Holst's ‘The Planets' and Berlioz's ‘Symphonie Fantastique.'

Yes, I grew up with television. I still remember the excitement and fear welling up inside of me as I watched ‘The Werewolf' on that black and white screen.

As a college lecturer here in New Orleans, I continually deem it important to convey to young musicians that music is a force that can express all the characteristics and emotional qualities, in all its gradations, of the human condition. This understanding is what makes great soundtracks for film, television and stage. Puccini's operas can move us to tears, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring caused riots. Music is powerful, an entity that touches the humanity in us all.

Hence Musique Visuelle - Music for Piano Trio and Orchestra. It is a culmination of a desire. The desire of hearing music that I've created, channeled if you will, with pencil, paper, a piano and computer, as performed by real humans. The process of making this a reality was for me a great education, perhaps guided by that unknown force that seems so near in the act of artistic creation. So many exceptional artists helped to make this project come to life. Everyone involved in this music making process was invested emotionally. It was never just another recording, it was a joy in the making. I cannot thank them enough.

In addition to composer Sieberth on piano, ‘Musique Visuelle' features:

Trio Musicians: Yasushi Nakamura (bass), Jamison Ross (drums), Ricky Rodriguez (bass), Henry Cole (drums & percussion)
Ethnic Percussion: Danny Sadownic, Pedro Segundo
Woodwinds: Erik Gratton, flute - James Zimmerman, clarinet - Titus Underwood, oboe, James Lotz, bassoon
French Horns: Jennifer Kummer - Beth Beeson - Patrick Walle
Trumpets: Steve Patrick (leader/contractor) - Jeff Bailey, Preston Bailey, Brian Shaw (track 8)
Trombones: Barry Green - Paul Jenkins - Matt Jefferson
Violins: David Davidson (concertmaster/contractor) - Conni Ellisor - Mary Kathryn Vanosdale - Janet Darnell - Jenny Armador - David Angell (principal violin2) - Jimmim Lim - Carrie Bailey - Alicia Enstrom - Maria Conti - Zach Casebolt
Violas: Betsy Lamb - Monisa Angeli - Chris Ferell - Simona Ruso - Sarah Cote - Bruce Christiansen
Cellos: Anthony Lamarchina - Sari Reist - Emily Nelson - Austin Holk - Julie Tanner
Bass: Craig Nelson - Jack Jezioro - Joel Reist

More about Lawrence Sieberth:
Pianist Lawrence Sieberth has thrived for years on the New Orleans music scene as a wearer of many musical hats: versatile keyboard accompanist, multifaceted composer, bandleader, producer and educator. He's at home in virtually any musical setting, unlimited by genre barriers. Though rooted in jazz, he has integrated many facets of music into an inclusive whole, drawing on classical and world music and more, composing for his own projects as well as television, film, dance and other idioms.

Sieberth's work as a leader ranges from the lyrical modern acoustic jazz quartet album An Evening in Paris (with master musicians Stephane Guillaume, Michel Benita and Jeff Boudreaux) to his ethereal jazz-electronica journey Arkipelago ("This is discernibly jazz, the headiest of sorts, volatile, unpredictable, explosive and menacingly symmetrical." - Offbeat magazine). He's equally authoritative on the solo piano album New New Orleans (his idiosyncratic take on classic early jazz). Sieberth's offerings also include Silhouettes, with his fiery New Orleans-based quartet, and Estrella Banda, a foray into Afro-Cuban and funk rhythms, refracted through the prism of Sieberth's original compositions.

Sieberth's professional experience is striking in its sheer breadth: he's worked with everyone from Grammy-winning blues guitarist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown to avant-gardists Frank Gratkowski and Hamid Drake, from Bangladeshi tabla master Badal Roy to New Orleans jazz vocal stalwart Germain Bazzle. He has backed Randy Brecker, Roseanna Vitro, David Murray and many others on their New Orleans tour stops. He has performed at virtually every New Orleans venue, from small clubs to the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as a featured artist and musical director for over 40 years. His collaborations with notable local musicians include Johnny Adams, Charles Neville, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Gerald French & the Original Tuxedo Jazzband, John Vidacovich, Jason Marsalis, Don Vappie and Victor Goines.

Sieberth was chief arranger and pianist for the songs performed by Queen Latifah on the Emmy-winning HBO biopic Bessie. He also contributed music for director Dee Rees' follow-up movie Mudbound. He arranged (for studio big band and string orchestra) and co-produced the album La Prima Famiglia by Lena Prima, daughter of the legendary Louis Prima, and served as music director for a number of theatrical productions including Hats: The Musical, The Joint's Jumpin' and The Warehouse Revisited.

He has composed music for the Marigny Opera House Ballet, Brandon Tartikoff's Big Time TV, the 1996 Olympics and more. His high-profile performance credits include Carnegie Hall, Jazz Ascona, Oslo Jazz Festival, Jazztage Ingollstadt, Hot Springs Music Festival, Salt Lake City Jazz Festival and more.

Sieberth has received numerous grants including the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award and the 2009 Asante Award. He is also a two-time recipient of the Community Partnership Grant (sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) and has served as a commissioner on the Louisiana Music Commission.

Educated at Baton Rouge's Southern University (attending with Alvin Batiste), Loyola University and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, CT, Sieberth served as an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Loyola and the University of New Orleans, teaching jazz piano, theory, arranging and improvisation.

"All creativity begins with that single moment of discovery. As we are vessels to view and experience the world, the artistic endeavor becomes a gateway to share in this uniqueness. The artist's goal is to bring that moment of inspiration into the world for others to experience. Every moment deserves this wonder."

JazzTimes Magazine's Philip Booth interviewed Sieberth regarding a prior release. The insightful article sheds further light on Sieberth's creative process:

Visit: http://lawrencesieberth.com

More Information: http://lawrencesieberth.com

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