A Tree Grows
Involving some of the most talented musicians on the New York scene, they create a unique stew with jazz at its core, blended with afrobeat, rock and experimental sounds. Tastefully crossing stylistic barriers, this unique collaboration involves two brothers - Rashaan Carter and Russell Carter - and German-born electronic musician Emanuel Ruffler. Together, they create sonic textures, over which Tivon Pennicott and Duane Eubanks stretch a layer of raw, emotional jazz lines. Not afraid to defy expectations of style, instrumentation and expression, the unique style of each member of A Tree Grows makes for a potent sonic concoction that is refreshing, insightful, and deliciously exciting.
'Future Calculations 'is based on an exercise by jazz pianist Walter Bishop Jr., a prominent member of Charlie Parker's band. Here, the progression is in fourths, which Walter Bishop Jr. wrote a whole book about. This sits somewhere between a 12-tone algorithm and the blues – a perfect fit for this subject matter.
The accompanying video was filmed and edited by acclaimed Japanese videographer Hideki Shiota, recipient of the Best Cinematography Award at the Asian American International Film Festival. Inspired by the need for a new generation of environmentalism, this video features a little girl named Kokoro imagining the thought process and the level of determination that will be necessary to overcome our current ecological challenges, with a single sapling the focus on her initial efforts.
Future generations will feel the need to rise to the ecological challenges they inherit, and this story tells one imaginary angle of this tale: A young girl makes it her mission to grow a plant. She is undeterred by what is happening around her and calmly works towards her modest yet spiritual goal... The blues inspired saxophone that Tivon Penicott plays is a perfect metaphor for our humanity and spiritualism, which can make plants grow - and in the end can possibly even heal nature.
"We came up with this idea and decided to make the video with the backdrop of New York City, using some weird locations in Queens that we have been exploring," explains Emanuel Ruffler. "I finally managed to convince my daughter Kokoro to act in the video and our friend Naoko Kitano agreed to do the styling. The clothes are very important for the direction of the story. The unusual kimono creates a sense of futurism, and it make the character really float above and stand out from the New York City street scenes."
At the top of today's young saxophone world, Tivon Pennicott brings fantastic rhythm, tasteful melodic lines and the deeply important groove. A two-time Grammy winner and runner-up in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Competition, he is also a prominent part of the Gregory Porter Band, a recent recipient of a 2017 Grammy Award for the album 'Take Me To The Alley'. Arguably one of the decade's most celebrated and genre-crossing artists, Gregory Porter performances have featured Tivon Pennicott on countless live and TV appearances across the globe. Hailing from Georgia, Tivon began playing with guitar legend Kenny Burrell while still in college, performing at many world-class venues alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis. Since moving to New York in 2009, he has collaborated with numerous artists, appeared on Esperanza Spalding's crossover success 'Radio Music Society', and toured with master drummer Al Foster, best known for his long-term collaboration with Miles Davis.
Emanuel Ruffler, a New York resident of more than 20 years, also comes with a colorful musical pedigree. After taking grand prize in the Thelonious Monk Competition, he has achieved songwriting credit on Me'shell Ndegocello's 'Aquarium' and also collaborated with world-famous designer Emanuel Ungaro, which ultimately led to Ruffler soundtracking an ad for an Ungaro-produced perfume.
Rashaan and Russell Carter's love of music fostered by their saxophonist father and mother, a radio programmer. The bass ultimately became the voice for Rashaan's musical expression with Russell on drums. They cut their teeth on the local Washington, D.C. scene with artists such as as Gary Thomas and after Rashaan moved to New York City to attend the New School University, he quickly began working with many faculty members, including percussionist and composer Joe Chambers. Rashaan met future bandmate Emanuel Ruffler at that time.
Trumpeter Duane Eubanks has performed everywhere from the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center, in addition to Europe and Japan. He is a member of Dave Holland's two time Grammy Award winning big band and the late Mulgrew Miller's band, Wingspan. Having played with dozens of renowned figures in the jazz world, he has crossed over into other genres, recording, co-writing and touring with The Temptations, Alicia Keys, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu Tang Clan, Freedom Williams, Kirk Franklin, and Defunkt.
1. A Tree Grows
2. Millions of Years
3. Out and About
4. Valentine's Day
5. 2 Years, 16 Days and 24 Minutes
6. Wau Wau Water (Reprise)
8. Rashaan's Life
10. Future Calculations
11. Ripple Edit
12. Wau Wau Water
Emanuel Ruffler - keyboards
Tivon Pennicott - saxophone
Rashaan Carter - bass
Russell Carter - drums
Duane Eubanks – trumpet
Produced and composed by Emanuel Ruffler, in memory of Walter Bishop Jr.
Published by Emudrum Music (BMI).
Hair and Kimono styling by Naoko Kitano
Filmed and Edited by Hideki Shiota