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Mack Avenue Music Group Presents First Listen Fridays


Plus Updated Street Dates for
Connie Han’s Iron Starlet – June 12 and
Christian Sands’ Be Water  July 17

Mack Avenue Music Group is proud to present First Listen Fridays, a new weekly online music series featuring new and exclusive music from the artists you love. Showcasing previews of music from upcoming albums, intimate home video recordings, and inspiring talks with artists, a new episode will be available every Friday at 1:00pm PT / 4:00pm ET on Mack Avenue Music Group’s Facebook and Instagram channels.

“In reaching out to our artists to offer support during unprecedented times, it was clear they are all of the same mindset: we must keep the music alive and adapt to a new climate,” states Denny Stilwell, President of Mack Avenue Music Group. “First Listen Fridays is a platform for them to connect and engage with their audiences in a new and exciting way.”

The second episode – airing Friday, March 17 – will feature a solo home performance of “I Love The Afternoon” by Raul Midón from his latest album The Mirror, a solo home saxophone performance of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Jimmy Greene from his upcoming album While Looking Up, a special conversation with Kirk Whalum from his home studio explaining the process behind his new album Humanite, and an exclusive premiere of the title track from Erroll Garner’s Gemini (the 10th album in the Octave Remastered Series).

Updated Street Dates:

Connie Han – Iron Starlet – June 12, 2020


As the title makes vividly clear, Connie Han’s career may be in the early stages of what promises to be a vertiginous climb, but the 23-year-old pianist and composer is no wide-eyed aspirant, timidly searching for her place in the crowded jazz landscape. One listen to Iron Starlet is ample evidence that she’s every bit an armor-clad talent as the name implies. Her powerful vision takes in the full evolution of her forebearers, from iconic innovators like McCoy Tyner and Hank Jones through the Young Lion revolution spearheaded by the Marsalis Brothers, Kenny Kirkland and Jeff “Tain” Watts, among others.

The toughness at the core of Iron Starlet is rooted in its rhythmic drive, anchored by the trio of Han, bassist Ivan Taylor and drummer/producer Bill Wysaske. They’re joined by the stellar frontline of saxophonist Walter Smith III (returning from Crime Zone) and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, an ideal pairing to realize the compelling blend of sophistication and grit that Han imbues into every piece.

Christian Sands – Be Water – July 17, 2020


Christian Sands’ third recording for Mack Avenue Music Group captures and establishes him as a forceful leader in composition and conceptual vision. With Be Water, the music is akin to the element which has no form of its own, taking on the structure of whatever musical composition and performance in which it finds itself and is a universal necessity. For this recording, Sands has reunited with bassist Yasushi Nakamura and saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and is joined by trumpeter Sean Jones, trombonist Steve Davis, guitarist Marvin Sewell, and drummer Clarence Penn.

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