INSTINCT/LIVE!

Josh Maxey

This is a record celebrating the energy of live music. During my time in Colorado, I've been fortunate to play with about 40 different musicians. Most of those were in a live setting with my band, as well as a few shows in friend's bands. This is a collection of music from 2014-2017 featuring some of my favorite moments from shows.

The first track, Type II (Introduction) was from the ending of a song called Premonition. We had agreed before the show to let outro jams take us wherever they could go and this one became its own piece of living music without much effort or direction on our part.

Next is a mix of music from as recent as a few weeks before release date to 3 years old. It represents the journey I took with good friends over about 30 gigs in a Colorado.

The album wraps up where everything creative begins, with an Intent. Music is an ocean of being where what you are looking for is reflected in your favorite songs, musicians and genres. If you're looking for healing, insight, excitement, dark/light, fun, escape, in depth perception and more, it's all there in music! The song Intent has come many worlds since it first left home on my second album, Approach.

This record documents the growth and change that the present moment brings to songs. Recordings are fixed in time, but the song is not. The song isn't even necessarily dependent on the musician. Some groups of notes present a feeing so strong that they seem to exist beyond the time and place of the the person playing those notes. There's no good way to pin down the song without solidifying it to some extent, but every iteration is like a separate life to something timeless and deathless. It is its own universe in its own way. It's own truth. Songs are ways of being.
Read more… close

Celebration of Soul

Josh Maxey

Celebration of Soul is the 10th album recorded in three years with 20 musicians documenting 50 original compositions. It is the first album to be released on a label, NYC's Miles High Records.
Read more… close

Completing the Cycle

Josh Maxey

"Your work, your music, is an inspiration and should be heard by any lover of jazz and music from the heart. It takes so much courage to find your own sound and to play your truth. You have done both. I am so grateful to call you a friend and colleague. Keep up all of the beautiful sharing of sounds from the heart. Your music is just what I wanted to hear today. Jazz guitar is in good hands...yours."

- Rodney Jones 

Recording an album is a big deal.
 
Cynicism would state otherwise.  Cynicism would state that tons of new releases come out every year, and that the sheer volume resulting from an amalgamation of those years would indicate that it’s not a big deal.
 
But it is.
 
Because it’s not about the numbers.  It’s about a musician sitting down with his or her instrument.  It’s about the struggle to better oneself, to find that singular voice, that expression of music that is unique only to them and represents all the thoughts and emotions and aspirations and dreams that bounce around their head and floods their heart.  Because artistic creativity is not just about an expression of self, it’s about conquering all of the doubt artists encounter throughout the process, of overcoming a murderer’s row of fears and insecurities and handicaps borne from their own psyche in the pursuit of giving form and function to a creative piece.
 
It’s a big deal because it’s hard.  And if a musician puts their heart into a project, they are open to some god-awful heartbreak.  That’s why recording an album is a big deal.
 
Over the course of one year (April of 2011 to March 2012), Josh Maxey did it six times.
 
With the goal in mind of releasing six albums within a twelve month span, Maxey set to recording, mixing, and producing a series of albums that would document his progress as a musician and the development of his singular voice.
 
And he did it well.  Six albums, six different sounds, six different line-ups, and six solid recordings that should make listeners happy and the artist proud.  It’s a hell of an accomplishment, and now that Maxey has collected these recordings in a box set retrospective, it’s worth revisiting them.
 
The notable characteristic about these six albums is that, given their six distinct sounds, Maxey’s personal voice on guitar establishes itself over the course of those recordings to where it is becoming terribly close to being recognizable as belonging only to him.  That personal voice that every artist in every medium strives to develop and achieve during a lifetime, Maxey’s guitar gives plenty of signs of its eventual bloom.  And it’s that sound which binds these six album into one cohesive whole.  Even as each album has a distinct sound, Maxey ties them all together with the constancy of his guitar.
 
And while much of that cohesion is attributable to the growth of Maxey’s personal sound, a lot of it has everything to do with the blues.
 
Listen to the album Argument for the Blues.  It’s the fifth album in the series, but if one were to map the six Maxey albums collected in this box set from seed to tree, Argument for the Blues is the most elemental of the six.  Two people sitting in a room with guitars, covering classic blues artists, modern artists, and Maxey originals, honoring the past and stamping their name on the present.
 
And the blues are evident in all six recordings. There's "Premonition" from the album Incarnate, where Maxey's guitar counters an upbeat tempo with a pained smile at a sun he believes hiding behind darkened clouds. Or how about "Dear Ones" from Approach, melancholy in the way endings can be, even when they're Happily Ever After. There's the spiritual-heavy blues of "Part I" from The Language of Sound and Spirit. The duo guitar album Argument for the Blues provides a rendition of Robert Johnson's "Hellhound On My Trail," and gives it a rivers-edge peacefulness that contrasts lovingly with the song's despair-riddled subject matter. And then there's "New Tide" from Light Cycles, and its show of the fiery side of the blues, set at a temperature that smolders evocatively. And, of course, all of the album Cycles of Sound, a live performance recording in which an ocean of thoughts had to be flowing through Maxey's head as he performed what he knew to be the culminating moment of a project that, at times, seemed unlikely to achieve.

Listen from the beginning.  Revelatory moments are sprinkled throughout the six albums, but it's always best to start where it all began.

And it starts with Incarnate. A quintet session with a brisk pace, and bolstered by Rodney Jones and Tim Collins on guitar and vibes, Maxey concocts a potent mix of jazz and blues-rock. Even when a song enters a melodic drift, it's still swept away on the currents of tempo. Maxey's guitar darts in between the fence posts of rhythm and melody, generating more speed and kicking up dust. A breathless album that dares the listener to try to catch it.

The sophomore release is Approach. This time, a guitar-organ trio, with Brian Charette on the keys and McClenty Hunter on drums. An album thick with the blues, and it hangs in the air like smoke in a beat-down roadhouse. And where prior album Incarnate displayed Maxey's talents with motion at high speeds, Approach has Maxey focusing more on the soul of the songs. Tuneful, with a friendly demeanor. Even when getting its feet moving fast, the trio makes it look easy-peasy and cool blue.

The third album of six is The Language of Sound and Spirit. This is where the spiritual side of Maxey's creativity is finally revealed. A core quartet that brings back Charette on organ, but also adds the saxophones of Chase Baird, brings in Jeremy Noller on drums, and guests on acoustic guitar, NA flute, and singing bowls, Maxey creates an intoxicating ambiance of floating melodies, rhythms that hover just above the earth, and a sense that the motion of each song is left to the will of whatever force chooses to guide it.

Number four in the series is the aforementioned Argument for the Blues. A duo guitar collaboration, with Maxey on electric and David Nicholson on acoustic, it puts on full display the beating heart of the six albums comprising the series.

Fifth album Light Cycles features a different line-up and ten original compositions, Maxey keeps things loose, and lets songs become shapes with fuzzy edges and indistinct shading. The music is more free, and that he keeps it unburdened by form is what imbues the tunes with a serene lightness... the kind of music perfect for simply drifting off to. Frequent collaborator Charette is back again, but now on piano instead of organ. Maxey brings back Nicholson on acoustic guitar... an element that Maxey continues to mine, hitting rich veins of textural beauty. He also brings in Rob Woodcock on bass, and with Woodcock at the low end and Nicholson's acoustic guitar a few flights up from there, Maxey takes advantage of all the space to maneuver between those two bookends. This album is a look to the future. With new compositions and a greater confidence in leading an ensemble, the freedom of the music portends some momentous projects down the road. It's Maxey continuing to develop even as he documents his sound of today.

The grand finale of the series is Cycles of Sound. A live performance, Maxey's sextet performs compositions that highlight the previous five albums. Full of energy and exuberance, and one can't help but wonder what was going through Maxey's head as he played guitar on a night that marked the achievement of a lofty goal. The music itself provides many of the answers.

And, really, that's as it should be. Because even though releasing six albums in a year's time is a big deal, it's what the music has to say that, ultimately, is the truest statement of all.

Now, begin listening...


-Dave Sumner
Bird is the Worm . com
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Completing the Cycle 05:18 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Interlude 00:48 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 The Far Country 04:47 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Coda 01:37 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Hellhound 02:31 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 The Tombs 05:17 Info Buy
    /
  7. 7 Part III (The Language of Sound and Spirit) 08:58 Info Buy
    /
  8. 8 Dear Ones 05:52 Info Buy
    /
  9. 9 Riviera 04:24 Info Buy
    /
  10. 10 Intent 07:01 Info Buy
    /
  11. 11 Hiding in Plain Sight 05:04 Info Buy
    /
  12. 12 Mountain View 06:36 Info Buy
    /
  13. 13 Incarnate 06:44 Info Buy
    /

Rhythm of the Sound Current

Josh Maxey

The rhythm of the sound current is a golden thread of love. It is the flow of meaning, love and purpose in music and in daily experiences.

Music has been a source of love, and also a mirror. I find the sound current to be the substance behind the notes. It is just beyond and above the audible pitches and writable rhythms.

The surprising truth is that I also find my self just above and beyond those same notes. Not by transformation, but realization. Music, and more specifically sound, is a mirror that reflects this Love and creates an area for personal expansion and realization.

For me, music is the cry of Soul. It calls out through the many dark nights and to the light of every morning. It beckons to the ages. I feel that this series has been made to be swept up and annihilated by the heights of this music's history.

For, there is no touching those historic heights. Imagine a great river. Could you possibly relive an experience in that river from fifty years ago?

No. It rushes on! However, the Love in those heights is accessible and becomes another bridge to love in Soul's ever present journey.

Rhythm of the Sound Current features four piano and guitar duos with one of my favorite musicians, Brian Charette. Songs five through seven add Jeremy Noller (a frequent collaborator from the series of albums) on drums and it is the second album to feature John Tate on bass.

It is a live performance of a new suite of music, recorded at Brooklyn's IBeam. The music was written specifically for the live recording.

In the last two years we have recorded 10 albums. Rhythm... is release number eight. It's the first full length album of new material after completing a six albums in twelve months recording project in January of 2013. The series has had over twenty thousand downloads. The singles Incarnate and Part III were both number one downloads on AllAboutJazz.com. The music has been reviewed on AAJ, Birdistheworm.com (also interviewed on BitW) as well as reviewed on other blogs, and has received airplay on jazz radio. The music features some of NYCs best musicians and those closest to me.
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Light Cycle Three 04:20 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Hold Up the Sky 04:19 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Love Beyond Worlds 04:24 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 The Open Door 03:24 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Hiding in Plain Sight 06:02 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 The Subtle Force 05:23 Info Buy
    /
  7. 7 Highest Mountain 05:25 Info Buy
    /

Cycles of Sound

Josh Maxey

On twitter? Please say hello!
https://twitter.com/joshuamaxey

Cycles of Sound is album #six in a series of 6 recordings in 12 months. The music was recorded in a live performance in Brooklyn, NY. Chase, Jeremy, David, John and David all played beautifully, bringing life to the music. Dave and Andy's production work give the record a great sound and Matt's artwork matches the feel of the music.

While making this series of albums, I've become more and more immersed in the creative flow of music. The more I have opened up, the more seems to rush in and through.

The benefits of making a large amount of work in a short amount of time are many and personal. I've planted my feet and am making my case to the ages about what I believe in about this music. It seems like creativity and love are boundless. They respond to my degree of conviction and love for the music, those close to me, and life.

One benefit is the speeding up of the processes of improving on the instrument. I am finding the time between conceiving an idea and incorporating it into my playing is much shorter, as is the writing process.

Another benefit is the connections made with people. I feel more connected with people and value even minor interactions in a way I never did previously. I think it is because I know something I didn't know before.

I know we are all capable of taking our next steps and following the whispers of life's meaning. I know we are only here for a certain time and every moment spent loving counts. Every moment of this kind is a blessing and another drop in an ocean of love.

I believe we are here to learn our lessons and to love. That is what is essential to me, in each moment (though I need reminding!) and in every note.
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Theme Song 06:36 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Incarnate 10:21 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Intent 05:53 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Hellhound on my Trail 02:15 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Approach 09:29 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 Dear Ones 07:47 Info Buy
    /
  7. 7 The Tombs 09:37 Info Buy
    /
  8. 8 Bass Solo 02:37 Info Buy
    /
  9. 9 Introduction 04:21 Info Buy
    /
  10. 10 Part III 09:55 Info Buy
    /

Blues in the Kitchen - EP

Maxey Nicholson Noller

On twitter? Please say hello!
https://twitter.com/joshuamaxey

MakeUseOf listeners: Welcome! Thanks for checking out the music in the series. Listen for free and Name-Your-Own-Price for the download. If you like what you hear, there are many more albums in this recording series.

Blues in the Kitchen is an EP that is a part of a series of 6 albums in 12 months. It's album number five and a half.

Recorded in the kitchen, where Argument for the Blues and the Light Cycles interludes were tracked, on 7/19/12 by David Parnell.

This EP is a follow up to Argument for the Blues, by Maxey Nicholson. It's a 4 song serial release (one song per week in September 2012). We augmented the duo with Jeremy Noller on drums and recorded 3 original works, along with one Robert Johnson song.

Blues in the Kitchen and Coffee Can Blues by Maxey Nicholson
Hellhound On My Trail by Robert Johnson

Josh Maxey, electric guitar
David Nicholson, acoustic guitar
Jeremy Noller, drums
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Blues in the Kitchen 03:42 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Plain Sight 03:00 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Coffee Can Blues 05:36 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Hellhound On My Trail 03:02 Info Buy
    /

Light Cycles

Josh Maxey

On twitter? Please say hello!
https://twitter.com/joshuamaxey

Light Cycles is album number 5 in a series of 6 records in 12 months.

The series started in April of 2011, and the 6th recording was done March 30th of 2012.

The album features 10 new compositions. There are 7 quartet songs and 3 interludes.

There is a bit of a story, etc that goes with each song. I've included them on the individual track pages.
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Gateway Blues 01:33 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 The Tombs 05:17 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Mountain View 06:36 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Light Cycle One 04:35 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Dispute 07:11 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 Cherokee Summer 01:37 Info Buy
    /
  7. 7 New Tide 05:41 Info Buy
    /
  8. 8 Persistence 05:11 Info Buy
    /
  9. 9 Light Cycle Two 04:10 Info Buy
    /
  10. 10 Keep it Moving 06:20 Info Buy
    /

Argument for the Blues

Maxey Nicholson

Josh Maxey, electric
David Nicholson, acoustic & vocals

(by Josh Maxey)

Argument for the Blues is album number four in a series of 6 albums in 12 months.

The songs included here are at the root of my love for the guitar and music. Some of my earliest memories are that of hearing the rock and blues that my father would listen to (loudly!) in the car when I was a kid in Virginia. I knew the music of Neil Young, Zeppelin and the Beatles about as early as I can remember.

It was while hearing that music that I thought, "I want to play the guitar." I think those early listening experiences and my fathers good taste in music sent me down the path to being a musician.

David and I have been playing together since 2003. Some of the song selections included here are ones we have played for years.

I appreciate the touch and perspective he brings to the guitar. As he plays the language of the blues, I hear in his playing a deep love for the music and it's history.

It's easy to make an argument for the blues. And, actually, I don't think it needs an argument. For me it is an expressive and joyous cry that can describe the human condition with it's peaks and valleys. I find the blues at the root of jazz and hope that whatever I play it can be called blues. Or jazz.

Josh Maxey, May 8th, 2012.
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Hellhound On My Trail 02:31 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Riviera Paradise 04:24 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Jackson 04:45 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Interlude: Approach 00:51 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Ten Years Gone 05:28 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 Matador 02:02 Info Buy
    /
  7. 7 Traditional Minor Blues 04:42 Info Buy
    /
  8. 8 Interlude: Discussion 01:12 Info Buy
    /
  9. 9 Love in Vain 03:25 Info Buy
    /
  10. 10 Lenny 06:02 Info Buy
    /
  11. 11 Little Wing 02:22 Info Buy
    /
  12. 12 Interlude: Thank You 00:37 Info Buy
    /
  13. 13 She's Gone 03:22 Info Buy
    /
  14. 14 The Rain Song (a palimpsest) 02:05 Info Buy
    /

The Language of Sound and Spirit

Josh Maxey

The Language of Sound and Spirit

There are times in the life of every artist when the artist's journey takes a leap towards an unknown destiny. It is a destiny forged from so many years of practice and study, tears and elation. It is a destiny of situation and fortune. At its deepest levels, it is a destiny borne of the heart. When an artist finds a deep resonance with purpose, the art expressed becomes a transcendent expression of that which cannot be voiced in words, sound, or image.

In this beautiful CD, we hear that quality, that essence that makes music great. Each song is like a Rosetta Stone to understand The Language of Sound and Spirit. Each composition offers a different view of the human heart as it stretches out to the infinite.

John Coltrane's music in the last part of his life, reflected a sense of urgency, a sense of wonder, and a deep connection to Sound and Spirit. Surprisingly, since his death in July of 1967, few artists have embraced that sense of urgency, or dedication of purpose. It seems that it is more comfortable to rest in the many interpolations of the mind and express "art" without a deep connection consciously to Spirit. Many modern musicians may be likened to great actors who act in a play, without knowing or understanding the theme of the play of the intention of the writer.

I have dedicated my life and journey in music to plumbing the depths of the Sound, the sounds behind the music. I have sought to discover what is the origin of the audible sounds?  This has led me to many beautiful landscapes and journeys. This CD is one such journey. I hear in this CD the genesis of an amazing story that wants to be told.

This music, when listened to with an open mind and heart, can shift the awareness from the temporal to the eternal. It is both a window, and a mirror into that deepest part of what it is to be fully human, and fully divine.

The music is warm, swings, grooves, is bluesy, melodic, and yet it is not these things that define it. It is the purpose from which it was created and the clues hidden in plain sight that make it the wonderful recording that it is.

I invite you to listen to it deeply as I have. You may find yourself  transported to a place within the heart where you experience The Language of Sound and Spirit again, and know it for the first time.


Love always...always love,


Rodney Jones
NYC March 2012
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Part I 05:20 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Part II 10:38 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Part III 08:58 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Part IV 09:36 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Rehearsal 03:36 Info Buy
    /

Approach

Josh Maxey

Approach is album number 2 in a series of 6 records in 12 months. It's an organ trio featuring Brian Charette and McClenty Hunter.

I first heard Brian play live around 2006 with Rodney Jones at a number of gigs at Smoke, here in NYC. I thought then that I'd love to record with him some time. Brian is an amazing musician, Grammy nominated, he's played and performed with Joni Mitchell, Lou Donaldson, The Max Weinberg 7, Chaka Khan, Micheal Buble, and countless others. His interpretation of the music was dead on, and he never needed a second take. His records are filled with great playing and writing. His playing grooves, it's creative, exciting and soulful. We also recorded the next album in the series of 6 together, tracked in June.

I met McClenty on a gig at the 55 bar we were playing in 2007. I recorded the sessions that became "Incarnate" with him a short time later. I've seen McClenty play a number of times with Ed Cherry, and he has toured with Buster Williams, Javon Jackson, Wycliffe Gordon, and Eric Reed to name a few. McClenty's playing was thunder in the room. He is at times subtle in his approach and phrasing and at times, fire. Before each take, I played him a few bars of rhythm guitar to give the feel of the songs and what he played in response was always right on.

For me, this record begins to demonstrate what I'm finding as my place in the lineage of jazz. My writing is influenced endlessly by John Coltrane, Rodney Jones, Doug Carn, Grant Green, McCoy Tyner and Nathan Page. I also draw on my early love of the guitar in Jimmy Page and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

I've understood recently that often when I play I am playing for one of a few reasons. One is the love of the history of the music, it's language as played and developed by certain players, one to the next.

A bit difficult to describe, the idea of "spirit" is often why I am playing. I think of playing music for spirit and for people. For me, music has been a sacred gift. I've sought continuously to be a conduit for meaning, love, and purpose like musicians before have been for me.

Another source of love and inspiration is Dear Ones. Loved ones, family, teachers, friends, those I learn the most from. One of the lessons of the past year has been that it's in the humble moments with Dear Ones, touched by love that I find life's meaning.

These aren't in a particular order, but lastly I play for myself, or for expression. I tend to think that the gift of music is the enjoyment of music and I love what I play. I feel honored to have spent time with some of my heroes, and seek to add my own thoughts and perspective to an art that I respect deeply.
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Theme Song 05:48 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Intent 07:01 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Dear Ones 05:52 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Incarnate 05:40 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Lineage 05:50 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 Approach 07:16 Info Buy
    /

Incarnate

Josh Maxey

"Guitarist Maxey has burst onto the scene with two albums in 2011 and one more soon to be released in 2012. On 2011's Incarnate, his trio, with guest appearances by all-stars Rodney Jones (guitar) and Tim Collins (vibes), puts out a high-octane recording of modern jazz guitar that absolutely sings with life. Should appeal to both old school and new school jazz fans. Plenty swing, soul, and originality. Highly Recommended."
- Dave Sumner, eMusic review
Read more… close
/
  1. 1 Introduction 01:31 Info Buy
    /
  2. 2 Incarnate 06:44 Info Buy
    /
  3. 3 Premonition 07:10 Info Buy
    /
  4. 4 Greens, Blues 11:14 Info Buy
    /
  5. 5 Alone Together 10:43 Info Buy
    /
  6. 6 Re: Incarnate 07:22 Info Buy
    /