• Jim Rotondi
  • One For All
  • Peter Bernstein
  • Renee Rosnes
  • Steve Turre

After surviving for almost 15 years in the white-knuckle world of running a New York City jazz club, Smoke co-owners Frank Christopher and Paul Stache decided that they were up for yet another daunting challenge, starting a jazz record label. Awed and inspired over the years by the music all around them, it was their dream to document and share it beyond the limited seats of the club. In the spring of 2013, they quit dreaming and instead recruited their friend Damon Smith to help turn the dream into a reality, Smoke Sessions Records.

The label’s initial focus is on the music and musicians associated with the club. Guided by the golden age of independent jazz labels like Blue Note, Prestige, and Riverside, Smoke Sessions’ ambitious plans are to release 10 to 20 new titles annually with 9 scheduled (one per month) through September 2014 and another full slate arriving starting again in January 2015. The first four titles are Harold Mabern‘s Right on Time (available now), Vincent Herring‘s The Uptown Shuffle (available now), Javon Jackson’s Expression (available now) and David Hazeltine‘s For All We Know (available April 8). Also arriving in 2014 are new titles from Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Cyrus Chestnut, Orrin Evans, and Eric Reed. Initially, the label planned to record live performances at Smoke exclusively, but future titles starting this year will also include studio sessions.

All Smoke Sessions releases are produced using vintage techniques and audio paths – i.e.; Rupert Neve-designed mixing consoles (Amek-Angela), Studer mastering decks, and Manley tube equalization – in combination with modern high definition recording techniques. Label co-founder Stache records the sessions then works closely with GRAMMY® Award-winner Roman Klun to mix and master them. Each releases features original photography by Jimmy Katz, as well as an original 2,000-word artist interview. The limited edition 200-gram audiophile collection was mastered for vinyl by celebrated engineer Kevin Gray and includes a classic “tip-on style” gatefold record jacket. Smoke Sessions titles are available on deluxe compact disc albums and as high resolution digital downloads; a 200gram audiophile vinyl compilation celebrating the first four releases is also available.

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Jim Rotondi

The life of a jazz musician tends to be an itinerant one. While traveling the world over the past three decades, trumpeter/composer Jim Rotondi has formed a tenuous definition of the word “home” – sometimes it can mean a permanent residence, sometimes just a welcoming room for a few nights’ …
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One For All

At a time when jazz bandleaders from across the musical and generational spectrums regularly lament the difficulty of keeping a band together, it’s all the more remarkable that a supergroup like One For All has stuck it out for twenty years. But the impeccably swinging sextet, made up of some …
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Peter Bernstein

Guitarist Peter Bernstein is justly renowned as an interpreter of other people’s music. His unerring, relaxed swing, his stunning gift for crafting and developing sophisticated melodies, the un-showy but absorbing narrative arc of his solos, the just plain rightness of his in-the-moment choices – all of these account for his …
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Renee Rosnes

Poet William Blake famously wrote of seeing the “world in a grain of sand.” Pianist/composer Renee Rosnes takes a similarly intimate look at the wondrous sweep of the natural world on her new Smoke Sessions release, Written in the Rocks. Due out February 5, 2016, the album is built around an ambitious …
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Steve Turre

Trombonist and composer Steve Turre shows off his full spectrum of sounds on his latest album, Colors for the Masters. The album’s ten songs, evenly split between jazz standards and original tunes that carry the torch for the tradition, offer a dazzling array of hues played in tribute to and …
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Saxophonist Bobby Watson Shines Light on Vital but Largely Unappreciated Black Pioneers on “Made in America,” Available April 21 via Smoke Sessions Records

  Saxophonist Bobby Watson Shines Light on Vital but Largely Unappreciated Black Pioneers on Made in America, Available April 21 via Smoke Sessions Records Album Pays Tribute to Butterfly McQueen, Madam C.J. Walker, Sammy Davis Jr., Wendell Pruitt, Major Taylor, and Dr. Mark Dean, Among Others Release Performances April 28 – …
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Heads of State–Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, David Williams and Al Foster–Four of the Most Revered and Influential Jazz Masters Unite for Sophomore Release, Four in One Heads of State–Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, David Williams and Al Foster–Four of the Most Revered and Influential Jazz Masters Unite for Sophomore Release, “Four in One”

Heads of State–Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, David Williams and      Al Foster–Four of the Most Revered and Influential Jazz Masters Unite for Sophomore Release, Four in One    Available March 17 on Smoke Sessions Records  “The cumulative wisdom of this all-star collective simmers well…” – The New York Times   …
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Philadelphia Natives Orrin Evans and Kevin Eubanks Return Home to Celebrate Release of Evans’ #knowingishalfthebattle, Available Now on Smoke Sessions Records

  Philadelphia Natives Orrin Evans and Kevin Eubanks Return Home to Celebrate Release of Evans’ #knowingishalfthebattle, Available Now on Smoke Sessions Records   December 28 through December 30, 2016 at Chris’ Jazz Cafe Pianist Orrin Evans is celebrating the release of his new album, #knowingishalfthebattle, with fellow Philadelphia native and guitarist Kevin …
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AVAILABLE NOW: Hard-Bop Jazz Masters The Cookers Make Smoke Sessions Records Debut with “The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart”

AVAILABLE NOW: Hard-Bop Jazz Masters The Cookers Make Smoke Sessions Records Debut with The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart – Album Release Performances September 13 – 17 at Birdland “…a group of heavyweight jazz masters – the kind who helped to make the classic records that defined the …
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Pianist Orrin Evans Lets Go and Trusts Instincts with Electrifying Band for “#knowingishalfthebattle” – Available October 7 on Smoke Sessions Records

Pianist Orrin Evans Lets Go and Trusts Instincts with Electrifying Band for #knowingishalfthebattle – Available October 7 on Smoke Sessions Records   Album Release Performances: November 17 – 20 | Jazz Standard with Kurt Rosenwinkel | New York, NY December 28 – 30 | Chris’ Jazz Cafe with Kevin Eubanks …
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“#knowingishalfthebattle”

Orrin Evans

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 7th October, 2016

The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart

The Cookers

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 9th September, 2016

Colors For The Masters

Steve Turre

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 26th August, 2016

The Third Decade

One For All

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 3rd June, 2016

Let Loose

Peter Bernstein

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 6th May, 2016

A Master Speaks

George Coleman

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 8th April, 2016

Dark Blue

Jim Rotondi

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 4th March, 2016

Written in the Rocks

Renee Rosnes

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 5th February, 2016

Afro Blue

Harold Mabern

Release Date: 14th April, 2015

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