domingo, 28 de agosto de 2016

Bent Knee Touring US NOW (Aug/Sep); Announce Dillinger Escape Plan Support Tour for Oct 2016


Bent Knee
Announces Headlining U.S. Tour
(August/September 2016) 
and 
Dillinger Escape Plan Support Dates
(October 2016) 

Globally-Acclaimed New Album
Say So Out Now,
Stream on Bandcamp

The silo-smashing, Boston-based sextet taps into chamber pop, industrial rock, metal and prog-rock. Featuring the versatile, ever-appealing voice of Courtney Swain, Bent Knee’s unique mix is equal parts ingenuity and deliciousness."
- Wall Street Journal

"Say So confirms Bent Knee’s eloquence and ebullience, while also breaking new stylistic and temperamental ground.”
- The Boston Globe

"Mind boggling… the grandest and subtlest ideas are on the table."
- NPR

"Intricately woven, surrealist stylings. A potent sense of urgency tingles the air."
- Consequence of Sound

"A celebration of creative freedom and unrestricted musicianship. Easily one of the best albums of the year."
- Rebel Noise



This has been an incredible year for Bent Knee across the board, with its third album Say So (Cuneiform Records) receiving a unanimously rave reception from national and global media, including The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, NPR, and Consequence of Sound.

Fresh off a triumphant European tour, the exhilarating live act is proud to announce it’s opening for legendary expansive metal band The Dillinger Escape Plan during the first half of its forthcoming U.S. fall tour. Prior to those dates, Bent Knee will headline across the East Coast, including a date in Toronto, Canada.

You can experience Bent Knee in action right this second while waiting for the forthcoming gigs. Five songs from its thrilling, upcoming full-length concert film Live at the Space are now available on YouTube.

Since its inception, Bent Knee has remained true to the incredible spectrum of its diverse musical personalities. Courtney Swain’s riveting vocals lead the way through often dark lyrical themes, while guitar virtuoso Ben Levin shifts seamlessly from melodic riffs to extreme dissonance, often at a moment’s notice. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth contribute deep grooves, full of unexpected accents and ornamentation that glue the boundary-pushing work together. Violinist Chris Baum soars atop and through the material, further expanding the group’s sonic palette, and producer/sound designer Vince Welch combines it all with understated brilliance.

// BENT KNEE - TOUR DATES: 2016 //


Bent Knee Headlining Dates: Aug/Sept 2016

8/26 Boston, MA – Great Scott

8/27 Philadelphia, PA – The El Bar

8/28 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery

8/29 Washington, DC – Black Cat DC

8/30 Kennett Square, PA – Kennett Flash Theatre

9/2 Dayton, OH – Ladyfest Dayton 2016

9/4 Chapel Hill, NC – ProgDay 2016

9/8 Tulsa, OK – The Vanguard Tulsa

9/9 Lawrence, KS – Jackpot Music Hall

9/10 Madison, WI – Mickey's Tavern

9/11 Chicago, IL – Emporium Arcade Bar

9/13 Toronto, ON – Monarch Tavern

9/14 Troy, NY – Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

9/17 Dayton, OH – Dayton Music, Art and Film Festival 2016

9/18 Worcester, MA – START on the Street - Fall Edition


Dillinger Escape Plan Support Dates: October 2016

10/12 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage

10/13 Providence, RI – Fete Music Hall

10/14 Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance Theater

10/15 New York, NY – Webster Hall

10/17 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom

10/18 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues

10/19 Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue

10/20 Sauget, IL – Pop’s Nightclub

10/21 Lawrence, KS – Granada

10/22 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater

10/23 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge


Bent Knee
Say So

Cat. #: Rune 417, Format: CD [8-Panel Digipak] / Digital Download
Genre: Rock / Indie Rock / Art-Rock / Pop / Avant-Progressive

 STREAM/SHARE: "Leak Water"
stream: @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

Say So Track Listing:

1. Black Tar Water (3:29)
2. Leak Water (4:41)
3. Counselor (5:51)
4. Eve (9:12)
5. Transition (0:49)
6. The Things You Love (6:12)
7. Nakami (5:20)
8. Commercial (3:44)
9. Hands Up (5:40)
10. Good Girl (6:39)

Bent Knee
Ben Levin: guitar and vocals
Chris Baum: violin
Courtney Swain: vocals and keyboards
Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth: drums
Jessica Kion: bass and vocals
Vince Welch: synths and sounds

Additional performances by:
Andy Bergman: alto sax and clarinet
Ben Swartz: cello
Bryan Murphy: trumpet
Geni Skendo: flute and shakuhachi
Geoff Nielsen: trombone
Keith Dickerhofe: cello
Nathan Cohen: violin
Sam Morrison: baritone sax
Rebecca Hallowell: viola

Group vocals for “Counselor” and “The Things You Love”
Alessandra Cugno, Andrew Humphries, Anil Prasad, Celine Ferro, Clint Degan, Curtis Hartshorn, Geni Skendo, James Willetts, Jeri Schibelli, Jessie Vitale, Josh Golberg, Kelsey Devlin, Leilani Roser, Leo Fonseca, Mary Freedlund, Max Freedlund, Michael Vitale, Mike Razo, Miriam Olken, Peter Danilchuk, Rebecca Hallowell, Roland Rotsitaille, Ryan Jackson, Sam Swan, Stephen Humphries, Susan Putnins, Tim Doherty, Toni Schibelli, Tori Bedford

Written and performed by Bent Knee.
Produced and mixed by Vince Welch.
Engineered by Matt Beaudoin at Q Division Sound.
Additional engineering by Chris McLaughlin and Vince Welch.
Assistant engineering by Grace Reader, Griffin Bach, Jamie Rowe, Joel Edinberg, Matt Carlson, Michael Healy, and Steven Xia.

Mastered by Randy Roos at Squam Sound.

Recorded at Q Division Studios, The Record Company, and Converse Rubber Tracks, Boston.

Album art by Greg Bowen.


"Like the best birthday party you’ve had in years."
- Goldmine Magazine

"Bent Knee's musicianship is superb, with vocals to die for, an interesting new turn at every corner, and never a dull moment. Highly recommended."
- Bill Bruford

"Expansive, genre-exploding avant rock."
- Bandcamp ["New and Notable"]

"...the new fantastic Bent Knee record... Brilliant! This band will soon be everywhere!"
- Nik Bärtsch

Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. The Boston-based group seamlessly connects the worlds of rock, pop and the avant-garde into its own self-defining statement. On its Cuneiform debut release Say So, the band focuses on the sound of surprise. It’s rock for the thinking person. The group’s lyrics are dark and infused with themes focusing on the emergence of personal demons, unwanted situations and the difficulty of conquering them. Its mercurial sound matches its subject matter. It’s a thrilling aural roller-coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon as they engage with them.

“Say So resoundingly demonstrates the increasing refinement and confidence of a group that doesn’t quite fit any conventional pigeonhole, with emphatic crunch, a knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit,” said Steve Smith of The Boston Globe. “Live, the band projects visceral glee, exactingly harmonized and wholly infectious.”

Founded in 2009, Bent Knee is a true collective. The band operates as a democratic entity with sky-high standards and a determination to push boundaries. Frontwoman and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s acrobatic, multi-octave vocals are nothing less than extraordinary. Guitarist Ben Levin morphs between the hauntingly melodic and extreme, dissonant sonics—sometimes within a single verse or passage. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth deliver deep and thunderous grooves, full of engaging, intriguing ornamentation. Violinist Chris Baum’s driving melodic overlays and atmospheres further take the band’s sound into wild territory. And all of it is brilliantly processed and produced by sound designer Vince Welch.

Bent Knee has remained on a skyward trajectory since forming. Its last two albums, 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies and its self-titled 2011 release, have been celebrated as significant art-rock achievements by important music publications, including Consequence of Sound, The Needle Drop, Innerviews, and Eclipsed. The group has performed more than 300 shows across the U.S., Canada and Japan to date and will embark on its first European tour this year. They’ve also headlined at major festivals and venues including The Lincoln Center, ROSfest, Tulsa Center of the Universe, and Campbell Bay Music Fest.

“What Bent Knee does is fuse the most extreme ends of pop and avant-garde music together,” says Welch. “We feel those things aren’t nearly as mutually exclusive as most people think.”

“When I listen back to Say So, I think it’s the most accessible thing Bent Knee has ever done,” continues Wallace-Ailsworth. “But other times, I think it’s the strangest thing Bent Knee has ever done. For instance, ‘Leak Water’ is a relatively linear rock tune by our standards, whereas ‘Eve’ is a sprawling, epic with radical twists and turns. I think the album reflects the full spectrum of our diverse musical personalities.”

Those extremes are also mirrored in the album’s lyrical themes.

“On Say So, we’re looking at the bigger picture and figuring out where we as individuals stand and how we carve out meaning in this giant universe,” explains Baum. “The album art captures that idea too. It’s why it features a figure lost in the woods, surrounded by darkness but looking out into the light.”

Even with those signifiers and aims, the band prefers its lyrics to be wide open to interpretation. It feels both listeners and the group itself benefit from that perspective.

“I’ve had listeners come up to me and say ‘Good Girl’ from Say So is a strong statement against women being patronized or oppressed and that hit me really hard,” says Swain. “It’s possible to consider those lyrics in that context, and that perspective helped me connect even more closely with the song. How people perceive our songs helps enrich and refresh the pieces for us as we perform them over time.”


One of the elements that significantly distinguishes Bent Knee is its adventurous arrangements. Each track is a true journey. In fact, pieces like “Eve” and “Counselor” are so diverse they reflect an almost “songs-within-a-song” approach.

“We try not to repeat ourselves within our structures,” says Kion. “If we find we’re creating a pattern such as ramping into a loud section and landing in a soft section right after it twice in a row, we’ll break it as soon as we notice it. We don't want to bore ourselves. We also want to surprise and intrigue listeners. We’re always trying to do new things with arrangements.”

“Another thing that stands out for us on Say So is that there are more dynamics within the sections of each piece,” adds Levin. “On previous albums, there were huge dynamic differences between sections. You’d hear songs that alternate between quiet passages, explosions, grooves, and long builds. On Say So, within a section, you’ll hear a lot more variety of loud and quiet, fullness and emptiness, ambience and dryness, and timbre changes. If you drew the dynamic arc of some of these pieces, it would look kind of like a Rorschach inkblot.”

Adding to Say So’s intrigue is the group’s decision to record some of the album in an unconventional space.

“A friend of ours pointed us to an empty, unlocked, million-square foot industrial complex in Boston,” says Baum. “We went in there to record so we could explore its unique sonic atmosphere. It felt like zombies were going to jump out anytime. It was a foreboding locale and gave the session a distinctly dark vibe. We captured some wild, reverb-drenched background vocals there.”

Prior to hitting the studio, the band road-tested Say So’s material at more than 50 gigs.

“It was extremely valuable to see how the pieces went over with audiences,” says Swain. “Playing live also gives all six of us a comprehensive understanding of where we sit in the registers of the songs, enabling us to adjust where the instruments fit in the mix. It’s also important for us to see how the lyrical motifs go over. The songs would be presented 70-80 percent finished to the audiences, leaving us with room to evolve the approach before finalizing them.”

Say So is a world-class album on every level. The band collectively obsessed over every detail in its determination to set a new standard for itself and the universe of ambitious songcraft.

“We now live in a time in which pretty much anyone in the Western world has access to the vast majority of recordings online,” says Welch. “So, the competition for musicians isn’t just the band down the street anymore. The competition is bands as big as Radiohead. To have a shot at success you have to aim to be that good. But even that’s not enough. You have to be patient and work at building up your audience like we’ve done for the last seven years. One of our mentors, the producer Susan Rogers, said to us ‘Slow growth is real growth.’ It’s advice we’ve taken to heart across this journey.”

That journey has now brought them into Cuneiform’s orbit—a transition the band is thrilled with on every level.

“It means a lot for us to be on Cuneiform because of the incredibly high standards of the other artists on the roster,” says Levin. “It’s a world where music is treated as art. Working with Cuneiform means we can make the music we love and connect with a lot of like-minded listeners. It’s fantastic to be in such great company, both in terms of the musicians they work with, as well as the uncompromising vision the label adheres to.”

PURCHASE LINKS //

ARTIST WEB SITES //




MUSIC VIDEOS



sábado, 27 de agosto de 2016

Federico Bonifazi - You'll See (feat. Eric Alexander, John Webber & Jimmy Cobb) 2016 SteepleChase Productions ApS




Pianist/composer Federico Bonifazi is considered one of the most outstanding talents of younger generation of Italy. After studying music in Paris and Turin Bonifazi embarked on professional career as a jazz musician in Europe. His trip to NYC in 2014 enabled him to establish a network of friends in New York jazz scene.

Bonifazi returned to NYC the following year with host of compositions of his own to record this SteepleChase Lookout debut album with New York’s leading artists including Eric Alexander and the legendary drummer Jimmy Cobbs.


FEDERICO BONIFAZI piano
ERIC ALEXANDER tenor saxophone
JOHN WEBBER bass
JIMMY COBB drums

Recorded March 17, 2015

1 STEPS HOUSE 4:31
2 VEDRAI VEDRAI 6:11
3 IL BALLO DI COCCINELLA 4:57
4 SADNESS FOR YOU 4:46
5 WHAT IS LOVE 6:33
6 SUSPENDED IN THE AIR 6:32
7 THE CHICKEN 6:06
8 ESCAPE 6:02

Total Playing Time 45:39

Vedrai Vedrai composed by Luigi Tenco
All other compositions by Federico Bonifazi

EAN/UPC 716043312528


BUY THIS ALBUM

Steven Kirby - Illuminations (2016)



Guitarist, composer, educator Steven Kirby has built a reputation for performing exciting, melodic, lyrical and expressive mainstream and contemporary jazz as well as being active as performer in other contemporary styles. He has appeared on over 25 released recordings (including three as a leader “Point Of Balance” , “North Light” both on Challenge Records and in 2016, "Illuminations"  on WCS. He has performed and/or recorded with many of today’s most respected contemporary musicians including Chris Potter, George Garzone, Mike Manieri (Steps Ahead), Scott Colley, Bruce Barth, Joe Lovano, Javon Jackson, Harvie Swartz, Joe Hunt, Steve Hunt, George Schuller, Allan Holdsworth, Matt Malley (of Counting Crows) and others.  He has toured in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Caribbean, Europe, China and Africa.

Kirby’s music has been played on over 100 radio stations in the US and internationally including features on NPR’s “Here and Now”, “Jazz with Bob Parlocha” and “Eric in the Evening”.

Kirby's jazz compositions have won awards in the International Songwriting Competition, the Billboard Song Contest and Downbeat. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has a masters degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from U Mass (Amherst). He is currently on the music faculty at 4 institutions of higher education: Berklee College of Music (Associate Professor, Harmony Dept), Salem State University, Brandeis University, Wellesley College.


Kirby plays and writes from inside the music, putting melody and feeling first.” – Bob Blumenthal(Boston Globe)


“ Meticulously played, elegantly produced post-bop jazz….Kirby has a serious command of the guitar” (New England Performer)

“ …beaucoup chops…creative music….beautiful and always well played…personal expression that transcends mere imitation” –Jim Ferguson (Jazz Times)

“A very talented musician and composer, lyrically inspired and very adept....a must to listen to! — Steve Charbonneu (WICN Radio)

“Kirby doesn’t just play the notes, he plays the sound ”. —Louis-Victor Mialy (Jazz Hot Magazine)




BUY THIS ALBUM

Nitai Hershkovits - I Asked You A Question (2016)



"Keyboards were always part of my musical entity. I’m lucky to have Rejoicer as a producer. Besides being there for me and open minded to any concept, he has the ability to stretch ideas without taking away from the artistic and musical direction. 

That kind of a workflow was different from other recording sessions I had. On this album we made beats, combining acoustic and electronic elements; editing, sampling and the result is an empirical but genuine attempt to get the right balance between the two. 

Hope you enjoy this milestone as much as we enjoyed creating it." 
Nitai Hershkovits 

"I feel like i dreamt about this music when i was a child. Some of the colors and energies Nitai and I created here are familiar to me in a weird nostalgic way. 

There are so many different inputs on our musicality that we kept asking each other - "what is your inspiration?" without getting any answer. 

I learned a lot from Nitai and his wide, unique and far-out approach to music - thank you !" Rejoicer (The Dove)


1. Robin 02:52
2. Leaded Sanity 02:43
3. Sattelite Dish feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow 03:19
4. My Turn feat. Kurt Rosenwinkel 04:29
5. Oman Moon 02:15
6. Rainbow Vs. Uniporn 01:39
7. Lesson Of The Cage feat. Amir Bresler 03:15
8. Queen Of The Village 01:49
9. The Palm Of Your Hand feat. Yogev Glusman 03:11
10. Dabri Shir feat. Shai Tsabari 04:02
11. Ten Will Get You Twenty 02:24
12. Terra Throne 01:47

Piano, Rhodes, Farfisa, Synths (Prophet 08, Nord, Yamaha cs-15) and Clarinet by Nitai Hershkovits 

Drums and Programming by Rejoicer 

Produced by Rejoicer & Nitai Hershkovits 

Mixed & Recorded by Rejoicer @ Firehouse Studios, TLV 

Vocals & Lyrics 
track 1 + 7 by Nitai Hershkovits 
track 3 Georgia Anne Muldrow 
track 10 by Shai Tsabari 

Violin on track 3 by Yogev Glusman 

Track 4 - 
Drum programming by Sol Monk 
Cello by Yael Shapira 
Cymbals by Daniel "Dada" Dor 
Bass by Alon Lotringer 
Acoustic Guitar by Yonatan Albalak 
Guitar by Kurt Rosenwinkel 

Track 7 - 
Drums by Amir Bresler 
Bass & Percussion by Yogev Glusman 

Track 9 - 
Cymbals by Amir Bresler 
Bass & Guitar by Yogev Glusman 

Additional Mixing by Nomok 

Mastered by Asaf Shay 

Cover Photo by Gaya Saadon 

Design by Kip (Broken Fingaz) 

Executive Prdoducer - Osbourne "Ease" Green


BUY THIS ALBUM

Nitai Hershkovits - Soaked from Nitai Hershkovits on Vimeo.

viernes, 26 de agosto de 2016

Jordi Gaspar - Gemini (2016)


Gemini es la nueva entrega del bajista catalán Jordi Gaspar, uno de los instrumentistas más consolidados de la escena del jazz y las músicas improvisadas. Para este proyecto, Gaspar cuenta con la complicidad del guitarrista Jordi Bonell, juntos centran las composiciones y la sonoridad en la combinatoria de la guitarra baja acústica de Gaspar y la guitarra de Bonell. Lo hacen acompañados de músicos de incuestionable altura: Roger Blàvia a las percusiones y como invitados especiales Ferran Savall (voz) y Raynald Colom (trompeta). Juntos dan forma a un elenco de instrumentistas más que adecuado para llevar este proyecto a buen puerto. Gemini nos propone con amabilidad una inmersión en un universo musical donde reinan las sonoridades acústicas, una estética sonora en la que el jazz y los timbres mediterráneos se dan la mano para caminar juntos en una actitud abierta que no deja de lado ni el atrevimiento ni la arte resultante del buen trabajo de estos músicos con mayúscula. Se trata pues de un disco sin fisuras, el homogéneo concepto fluye desde la música de mejor calidad con un sonido excepcional, cautivador y envolvente.


1. Passatje Klein 2:57
2. Gemini 5:42
3. Fels 4:20
4. 6x6 5:11
5. 1xNR 6:48
6. Chiqui 5:21
7. Fe Cega 5:04
8. Oliveta 4:05
9. Secreto 5:03

Jordi Gaspar, bass
Jordi Bonell, guitar
Roger Blavia, percussion
Raynald Colom, trumpet
Ferran Savall, vocals


BUY THIS ALBUM

Mary Halvorson & Noël Akchoté - Mary Halvorson & Noël Akchoté (2016)




NOËL AKCHOTÉ RELEASES A NEW SET OF 
GUITAR DUETS WITH MARY HALVORSON 
By Scott Yanow 
  
Throughout his career, Noël Akchoté has been a consistently inventive and innovative guitarist. While often associated with the avant-garde, he has a well-rounded style that is an extension of the earlier jazz guitar greats. 
  
His newest recording is simply called Noël Akchoté & Mary Halvorson. It is a set of duets with the brilliant guitarist Mary Halvorson, a major innovator ever since she emerged on the scene in 2002. While he had been familiar with her playing for several years, Noël did not have direct contact with Mary until 2015 when she recorded “Cheshire Hotel” (from his Lust Corner album) on her Meltframe CD for the Firehouse 12 label. “I invited her to participate on my performance of ‘Gesualdo Madrigals for Five Guitars.’ We spent three days together before we played a show in Nantes, France. A little later on, we recorded our duet album. I can recognize her playing immediately. In many ways playing music isn't just about what you play but how you are and who you are in life. Performing with Mary challenges me a lot. She pushes me into some much different areas than usual.” 
  
Noël Akchoté and Mary Halvorson went to Les Ateliers Claus, a recording studio in Brussels, creating their joint CD in two hours with no real rehearsals. “I love the very first moments in music and I did not want to spoil them by having too much preparation.” The first ten selections on this set are all Noël’s originals which he modestly describes as “nothing too complicated, mostly lyrical lines with open changes.” 


Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. After three years of study with visionary composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, she became an active member of several of his bands (and appears on six of his recordings). She also performed alongside iconic guitarist Marc Ribot (Sun Ship and The Young Philadelphians), and over the past decade she has worked with such diverse bandleaders as Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey and Mike Reed. maryhalvorson.bandcamp.com 

Noël Akchoté, born in Paris in 1968, he started guitar at the age of 8. Soon meeting and studying with artists such as Tal Farlow, Barney Wilen, Chet Baker, Philip Catherine or Jacques Thollot. During the early 90's, he started to explore beyond jazz, also playing more experimental and improvised musics, playing in the groups of Henri Texier, Louis Sclavis, Daniel Humair, Sam Rivers as well as with Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Tim Berne or George Lewis. He collaborated since with David Grubbs, Luc Ferrari, Rolf Lislevand, David Sylvian, Roedelius and Jim G. Thirlwell. He signed many soundtracks and runs since 2010 a “digital only” label with over 600 references (from early music, to any type of re-readings or fusions). www.noelakchote.org


Released August 26, 2016 

Mary Halvorson & Noël Akchoté – MHNA-001 
(Noël Akchoté Downloads, Album, MP3, Believe Digital, 2016). 

Mary Halvorson : Electric Guitar 
Noël Akchoté : Electric Guitar 


Recorded by Christophe Albertijn at “Les Ateliers Claus”, Brussels (BE), 23 February 2016. Mixed & Mastered by Christophe Albertijn. Artwork by Noël Akchoté. Produced by Noël Akchoté – MHNA-001 © Noël Akchoté Downloads (All Rights Reserved). 

Liner Notes By Scott Yanow

1. Can I V? 03:36
2. Barnum 04:24
3. May 20th 03:01
4. Icare Easter 04:15
5. Flowers (for Mary) 02:34
6. Pline 05:03
7. Gerfrais 04:08
8. Aber-Lied 03:01
9. Dunja 01:58
10. Vuiper Trout 02:54
11. All the Things You Are 05:39
12. Him & Her 04:09
13. Weer Is Een Dag Voorbij 06:17
14. Entre Java et Bali 04:15
15. Strange Meeting 05:08
16. Hune Lune 03:22
17. The Bat 04:58
18. L'Herbe Tendre 04:30
19. Foufou 00:45
20. Oh Lord, Put That Gun Off Me! 00:58

BUY THIS ALBUM

jueves, 25 de agosto de 2016

Quinsin Nachoff - Flux (September 16, 2016)


Saxophonist/Composer Quinsin Nachoff combines jazz invention 
and classical intricacy on extraordinary new CD

Flux, out September 16, features unconventional bass-less quartet with 
David Binney, Matt Mitchell, and Kenny Wollesen

“Pure, bracing, thought-provoking music…cliche-and convention-free.” 
—Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen, reviewing Flux’s debut concert

“[Nachoff’s writing is] bold, diverse and filled with compelling
counterpoint.” – James Hale, DownBeat


Saxophonist/composer Quinsin Nachoff brilliantly captures the sound of evolution on his latest release, Flux, due out September 16 from Mythology Records. Exploring the elusive terrain between modern jazz and contemporary classical, between the cerebral and the organic, Nachoff reveals a fervently original sound that evokes bold, incisive playing from a singularly innovative quartet. Nachoff’s vision asserts that the state of flux can represent shape-shifting invention rather than uncertainty – though he’s certainly not afraid to venture into the untested unknown.

The bass-less quartet of Flux is entirely composed of leaders in their own right, each known for their groundbreaking adventurousness. Alto saxophonist David Binney, whose Mythology label is releasing the album, is a prolific and forward-thinking player and composer as well as being an influential producer whose collaborators have included Donny McCaslin, Uri Caine and Chris Potter. Pianist/keyboardist Matt Mitchell has seized a place at the leading edge of the music through his jaw-dropping work with the likes of Dave Douglas, Tim Berne and Rudresh Mahanthappa. And drummer Kenny Wollesen is a founding member of the New Klezmer Trio and Sex Mob whose diverse resumé includes work with Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, Tom Waits and John Zorn.

These four come together to breathe vivid life into Nachoff’s wide-ranging compositions, which continue to develop his longtime interest in fusing together eclectic influences from jazz and classical music. Don’t mistake this for a “Third Stream” or “chamber-jazz” project, however; this is radically creative music that forges its own path.

“The kind of music that I’m interested in making isn’t straightahead in either genre,” says Nachoff, who has composed for string and brass ensembles as well as jazz big bands. “I like mixing and matching things. I try to find commonalities between them to put people into different landscapes to improvise in.”

Flux was born out of a time when Nachoff’s life was in a state of flux itself. The Toronto native was in the process of moving to New York City and finding a new niche for himself in the jazz mecca’s ultra-competitive scene. “It’s quite a transition going from working a lot and teaching at well-respected schools to starting again from scratch,” he says.

Nachoff discovered kinships with the members of the Flux quartet in different ways: Binney on shared gigs with bassist Michael Herring, Mitchell during an Australian tour under Nachoff’s leadership, Wollesen simply through hearing the drummer play with bassist Eivind Opsvik’s Overseas ensemble. “I was blown away by his incredible feel,” Nachoff says of his first experience hearing Wollesen live. “I was infatuated with his hi-hat the whole night - which was only playing quarter notes!”

At the core of the sound of Flux is two pairings – the twin saxophone frontline, and the alchemical, opposites-attract meeting of Mitchell and Wollesen. “The concept was to put more heady material that Matt can deal with on top of this really organic feel that Kenny does and have it work as a band sound.”


The compositions that Nachoff brings to the quartet fully explore that tension between the band’s virtuosity and passion, which fuel each other in thrilling ways. With the two saxophones, Mitchell playing a variety of keyboards including Fender Rhodes, organ, Wurlitzer, and Moog, and Wollesen incorporating a variety of handmade percussion instruments, the palette that Nachoff had to work with, in his often surprising orchestrations, was vast. 

Several of the pieces on Flux began life as commissions for classical ensembles, reinvented for and by the quartet. Aptly-named opener “Tightrope” is Nachoff’s response to the Toca Loca ensemble’s request for a “pop” influenced piece – allowing for as abstract an interpretation of that proviso as desired. The piece follows a loose verse-chorus structure with an underlying rock feel to the rhythm – and Mitchell interpreting two keyboard parts into one intricate whole.

“Complementary Opposites” is derived from a suite penned for trumpeter Peter Knight’s 5+2 Brass Ensemble and is built on surprising juxtapositions of style and rhythm – as when a reggae groove suddenly takes over the piece somewhere in the middle. The two-part “Mind’s Ear” comes from a suite written for the Greg Runions Jazz Orchestra that featured Nachoff and trumpeter Tim Hagans (who gave the piece its name) as guest soloists. The pieces are marked by unconventional harmonic motion and jarring tonal shifts.

The evocative title of “Astral Echo Poem” is an anagram for the name of its primary influence – Brazliian composer Hermeto Pascoal. Finally, “Tilted,” which erupts with nervous energy, is an apt bookend with “Tightrope,” drawing once again on hard rock inspirations for its driving beat, complicated by the fleet, snarling melodies.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Nachoff has been colliding genres since his 2006 debut, Magic Numbers, which melded a jazz trio with a string quartet. He’s since composed music for a variety of ensembles in both worlds, including the Penderecki String Quartet, the Toronto Jazz Orchestra, and the Cecilia String Quartet, as well as his own Horizons Ensemble, Quiescence Quartet, and FoMo quartet. He also leads the Pyramid Project, which brings together saxophone, brass quintet and drums and features Ralph Alessi, Jonathan Finlayson, John Clark, Ryan Keberle, Marcus Rojas and Jim Black.  As a sideman he’s performed and/or recorded with Kenny Werner, Howard Johnson, Tim Hagans, Kenny Wheeler and Don Thompson among others. He has coached at the Banff Centre for the Arts and taught at the University of Toronto and Humber College, as well as serving as artist-in-residence at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia.