Trombonist Michael Pallas to Release New Project “Gateway”

Trombonist Michael Pallas to Release New Project “Gateway”

Versatile New York-Based Trombonist and Composer
Michael Pallas Explores Latin, Jazz and Neo-Soul
and Hip-Hop at the Gateway

It will be available on August 23rd via Truth Revolution Records.
Gateway features saxophonist Lomar Brown.
Pianist Yeissonn Villamar, Bassist John Benitez,
Drummer Jonathan Barber and
Percussionist Nelson Mathew Gonzalez

With the release of his first album, PassageTrombone player, composer and educator raised in Phoenix and living in New York City Michael Pallas He seems to be attracting attention as a leader.

A trombonist inspired by JJ Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Steve Turre and Papo Vasquez, Pallas is a proud graduate of the Jackie McLean Institute, founded in Hartford, Connecticut by legendary alto saxophonist and educator Jackie McLean.

Although Pallas has been performing professionally for more than 15 years alongside legendary jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, mambo big band leader Steve Oquendo, Afrobeat group Antibalas, hip-hop group Soul Science Lab and others, the trombonist decided to become a solo artist during the pandemic.

“I really had a lot of time to think about where I was at that point in my career,” Pallas says. “I felt like I needed to move in the direction of really seriously writing my own music and eventually releasing my own album. So I started composing songs that dealt with themes and emotions that I and many artists were facing in the first two years of the decade.”

13 Pallas-signed selections featuring saxophonist Lomar Brown, pianist Yeissonn Villamar, bassist John Benítez, drummer Jonathan Barber and percussionist Nelson Mathew Gonzalez, and co-produced by Alex Meltzer, Passage It reflects the countless innovations and dimensions of 21st-century jazz.

The opening number, “Life On Mars,” is McLean’s nickname for Hartford, an infectious Cubop composition written to sound nothing like McLean’s beloved Big Apple. “One For The City” is a lively, joyful waltz dedicated to New York City, followed by the mid-tempo backbeat of “Streaming Hope,” which has been played by online concerts and improvised musicians during the pandemic.

“Patient(s)” is a hypnotic, hip-hop-flavored interlude that leads into “Disu’s Dream,” a lilting rumba dedicated to the memory of Pallas’ friend and colleague, trombonist Jason Disu, who died in 2021. Conversely, “Counterfeit Blues” features standout spoken word artist Ghazi Omair speaking about police brutality and the murder of George Floyd, which leads into “The Verdict,” a hard bop take on the subject.

“Today And Forever” is a beautiful Kenny Barron-style ballad. “Next Exit” opens with another dreamy, hip-hop-friendly interlude and the Afrofuturistic, neo-soul number “Beyond (The Gateway)”, following the title track, a stirring, contemporary jazz selection celebrating the return of live music. “El Boli” is inspired by Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty” and the final track, “Variant,” is a twilight-tinged blend of dance beats, psychedelic effects and Afro-Colombian cumbia rhythms.

Pallas was very specific about how the record would be sequenced. “I was able to tell the story through the songs, and they’re all laid out in chronological order,” Pallas says. “I thought long and hard about how the tracks should be laid out.”

Passage It’s a testament to Pallas’s versatility as a trombonist and composer, as well as his fluency in many different genres. “I’m excited to share all these ways of playing the trombone and approaching new styles of music,” Pallas says.

About Michael Pallas

Pallas was born in Los Angeles in 1990 to a Dominican immigrant mother and a father of European descent who was born and raised in New York City. Raised in Phoenix, Pallas began playing piano in first grade and began playing the trombone at age 11.

“Once I picked it up, I got good at it pretty quickly compared to my peers,” Pallas recalls proudly, “and a big part of that was because I was studying piano before I picked up the trombone. So I had a really strong musical foundation.”

Pallas played in several local groups, most notably Young Voices of Arizona: a nonprofit 501-(c)(3) organization composed of young musicians who played in various jazz groups. Pallas’ primary instructors were Robert McAllister, Principal Trombonist of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, and Milas Yoes, Director of Instrumental Music, Jazz Studies, and Humanities at the College of Phoenix, which Pallas attended.

Pallas told Yoes he wanted to go to a conservatory, so he introduced him to jazz trombonist Steve Davis, who taught at the Jackie McLean Institute at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. “I went there and auditioned for Steve,” Pallas says, “and when I got there, my life changed. He showed me that there was a path in music for people who were serious and could really make a living out of it.” Pallas attended McLean’s school and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 2013, while also collaborating and training with Rene McLean at the Artists Collective and working frequently with Ed Fast and Conga Bop.

Pallas moved to New York City in 2014 and has performed with various Latin bandleaders, including John “Dandy” Rodriguez, Gilberto “Pulpo” Colon, Steven Oquendo, Tito Rodriguez, Jr., Alex Matos, Tito Rojas, and Lusito and Roberto Quintero. Pallas has also worked with many jazz artists and ensembles, including Abdullah Ibrahim, Steve Davis, Rene McLean, Robert Edwards Big Band, George Gee Orchestra, and Cotton Club Orchestra. In 2021, Pallas began working with NYC-based hip-hop and multimedia group Soul Science Lab. Between 2022 and 2023, Pallas toured North America, Europe, and Africa, and recorded with Grammy-nominated Afrobeat group Antibalas. Pallas has also performed with New York retro soul and R&B group Ernest Ernie and The Sincerities.

Shortly before the pandemic and toward the end of Barry Harris’s life, Pallas joined the legendary pianist’s Orchestra Project. “Although we never performed or recorded, it was an invitation-only workshop that met weekly in Manhattan to rehearse Harris’s compositions and arrangements for a large ensemble,” Pallas says.

Pallas, who earned a Master of Music degree from New Jersey City University in 2022, is also a dedicated educator. He taught music theory and conducted jazz ensembles at the Westchester Conservatory of Music from 2014 to 2023. Pallas currently teaches in the Harmony Program, which helps New York City children develop healthy habits and life skills through collective music making, setting them up for long-term success.

Michael Pallas • The Gate
Truth Revolution Recording Collective • Release Date: August 23, 2024

For more information about Michael Pallas, please visit: | Facebook | Instagram | twitter

DL Media

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