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Hyena Signs Pianist Lafayette Gilchrist

The Hyena record label has signed Baltimore, Md.-based pianist-composer Lafayette Gilchrist (pictured) to its growing artist roster, which includes guitarist Skip Heller and remix maestro Mocean Worker. Gilchrist will release his debut recording, The Music According To Lafayette Gilchrist, on June 29.

Gilchrist arrives from saxophonist David Murray’s band, where he’s occupied the piano chair in both Murray’s Quartet and Octet since April 2000. On the forthcoming album, Gilchrist and his band, the New Volcanoes, will present a sound that’s as indebted to owing as much to old-skool hip hoppers Grand Master Flash and Afrika Bambaataa as it is to Gilchrist’s jazz heroes like Sun Ra, and Thelonious Monk. Gilchrist is well-known on the Baltimore scene, where crowds gather for his performances at jazz-oriented venues like the New Haven and the 14 Carat Cabaret-and the band is also a favorite at Baltimore clubs better known for presenting rock and punk like the Ottobar and the Funk Box.

Speaking about his music, Gilchrist says: “this is the sound of my town, where I come from. It’s my own personal imagination and inspiration drawing from the environment that I live and grew up in. I’m a child of hip-hop, and I know the music of every one of those D.C. go-go bands. And that’s the foundation I build upon. When I sit down behind the boards, the stakes are high. It can never be anything less than honestly in your face and real. You’ll know the game is on.”

Because we’re curious sorts, we did a little digging on the Internet and found some New Volcanoes MP3s at Who knows if this is what Gilchrist’s album will sound like, but these tunes are absolutely free and legal to download, so have at it.

Hyena has recently released albums by Skip Heller (Fakebook) and Mocean Worker (Enter The MoWo), and will reissue Stan Getz’s My Foolish Heart: Live At The Left Bank on May 25. Thelonious Records, a label distributed by Hyena, will release a new Thelonious Monk CD (Monk ‘Round The World) on June 29. For more information on the label, visit

Originally Published