Mike Moreno | Lotus

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Mike Moreno

Modern Jazz Guitar
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Intro
1:41 $1.29
2. The Hills of Kykuit
6:53 $1.29
3. Lotus
5:51 $1.29
4. Hypnotic
5:55 $1.29
5. The Empress
6:22 $1.29
6. The Last Stand
8:41 $1.29
7. Can We Stay Forever?
3:37 $1.29
8. Blind Imagination
6:23 $1.29
9. Epilogue: The Rise
4:35 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Kendrick Scott's World Culture Music is poised to release Lotus, the much-anticipated fifth album (& third self-produced project) from guitarist/composer Mike Moreno. Moreno is a musician who has established himself on the global jazz scene in a profound way, garnering high praise from critics, fans, colleagues, and from none other than Pat Metheny and Mike Stern. As a leader, Lotus brings Moreno's creative output to five recordings, and one could argue that they should be considered must-have recordings for any serious collection.

Lotus, featuring musicians that Moreno has a long and happy history with, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Eric Harland, is a documentation of Moreno's most honest music to date. "This is Aaron’s fourth record with me," Moreno explains, "and it sort of continues what we started on Aaron’s Blue Note Records debut Invisible Cinema, which featured both myself and Eric Harland. That was a defining record for both Aaron and I, and everywhere I go, that’s the most talked–about record of my career to date. So in a way, this is part two of Invisible Cinema. . It certainly has the same appeal, a great band with a set of melodic songs and the always strong rhythmic concept from Eric Harland." "Eric, from Houston, like myself, both attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, and we began playing on his visits back to Houston after he moved to NYC. He was the first great drummer I played with. I still remember feeling that force coming from the drums for the first time. It was incredible. Lotus marks the first time Eric has recorded with me on one of my own projects. It was long overdue." "Doug Weiss has been a part of my band almost from the beginning, starting when he was one of my teachers at the New School. I loved his playing and asked him to do some gigs with me when I started to work with my own band. He ended up playing on my first two records, and is just one of most solid bassists out there, always playing beautiful supportive notes and exactly what is needed."

Lotus is comprised of all original Mike Moreno compositions. Some were composed during an artist residence that Moreno took part in at the Rockefeller Estate, Kykuit Gardens, in Pocantico Hills, NY ("The Hills Of Kykuit" and "Empress".) The guitarist/composer explained, "The more I compose the simpler my music gets and the more it sounds like me, rather than a mix of my influences." "Can We Stay Forever?" is a ballad that didn't make the cut for Moreno's previous release, Another Way, but fit very nicely in the set for this record. The rest of the recording was written in the years since Another Way was released in 2012. The most recent composition is "Outro", which was finished just a week before the record date, and composed by Moreno specifically for this band.

Moreno wants Lotus to be a recording that people from all walks of life can listen to and enjoy over and over again. "This is meant to be a record you can listen to like any other genre of music, whether your a jazz fan or musician, a lawyer, a garbage man, whatever. It is an album of which I’m extremely proud, and I hope that when the listener walks away from their computer, stereo, car, iPod, etc., that these melodies stick with them, even after the first listen."



to write a review

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan (Fan) Review
The fifth album from Mike Moreno marks a major step forward in the artist's evolution as one of the most formidable and significant guitarists in the contemporary jazz scene.

Moreno's original compositions are grand and ambitious, with lyrical acoustic guitar musings that exude dreamy sentiment and smart electric guitar lines that bop with elegant finesse.

A touch of grace is provided by Aaron Parks on piano, and bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Eric Harland keep things moving with deep-rooted rhythmic grooves and highly charged percussion.

While the band functions as a tight unit, Moreno clearly shines as both a soloist and a leader, continually honing and refining his craft as he takes it to new heights of innovation and virtuosity.

Listening to Moreno's brilliant guitar playing is nothing short of ecstatic joy.

This CD will be very much appreciated by those who enjoy high-end jazz guitar and those who dig thoughtful instrumental music that is inspiring and resonant.

inner exile

A graceful whole (4.6 stars)
where well-integrated improvisations with smooth transition and the inimitable interaction of the quartet are subservient to the guitarist bandleader's compositional intent and ensemble playing, yet the present album feels less diverse than Moreno's previous WorldCultureMusic release (Another Way, 2012).
An intricate solo piece played with classical style on steel-string acoustic guitar leads over to the uplifting #2 'the hills of kykuit', featuring an extended piano take with some traditional overtones from Aaron Parks and Moreno's expressive, fluid lines, until an engaging guitar-piano unison brings us back to the main theme.
The title track #3 'lotus', which is a symbol for a state of purity untainted by karmic vagaries of conditioned existence (samsára), is a gentle, lulling meditation with acoustic guitar overdub (also used elsewhere on the record).
On #4 'hypnotic', pulsating beats - courtesy of drummer Eric Harland and bassist Doug Weiss - pave the way for the bittersweet melody of sustained guitar notes organically seguing into a passionate, agile solo, which is followed by a brief piano segment vaguely influenced by tango.
A truly great Latinesque improvisation on acoustic guitar is the highlight of the serene #5 'the empress' that also contains a reserved bass improv from Weiss, who appeared earlier on "Between The Lines" (2007, WorldCultureMusic) and "Third Wish" (2008, CrissCross). Harland's drum intro ushers in the whirling dynamism of #6 'the last stand', where Moreno's intervallic leaps combined w/ chromaticism and Parks' elegant piano are worthy of note.
#7 'can we stay forever?' turns out to be a slow, soulful reverie, whereas the bass-less #8 'blind imagination' is characterized by stark lyricism w/ pronounced drum beats, also having a yearning guitar and wandering piano exchange.
The set closes w/ #9 'epilogue – the rise': it starts in a dreamy vein on acoustic guitar and evolves into a gorgeous hymn.
Listeners should be aware that the individual tracks are tens of seconds shorter than what's indicated on the CD cover, in case of tune #6, for instance, it's 8.38 minutes in length instead of 9.27 – this album of impeccable audio quality clocks precisely at 50 minutes.

Juerg Sommer

Melodiöser Gitarren-Jazz (a Swiss newspaper recommendation)
Mit einem Stipendium schaffte es der texanische Gitarrist Mike Moreno an die New School University…und blieb nach erfolgreichem Abschluss an der Jazz-Kaderschmiede in New York hängen. Mit begeisternden Fürsprachen von Morenos Kollegen Pat Metheny und Mike Stern nebst Sidemen-Jobs bei u.a. „Kendrick Scott Oracle“ etablierte sich Moreno auf der Szene als lyrischer, klangsensibler Gitarrist mit einer ausgesprochenen Vorliebe für stimmig getragene, melodiöse Songs. Mit dabei auf Morenos 5. CD finden sich seine langjährigen Partner, Pianist Aaron Parks, Bassist Doug Weiss und der herausragende Drummer Eric Harland.