Recordings of Gerry Hemingway


This page has been updated 12/14/03. I have plans, when time allows, that sound samples (Devils Paradise and Songs have excerpts on the mp3 page), reviews and technical data will be available by clicking on the covers. But I am not there yet. Meanwhile I wanted to make it a little easiar to navigate through the different projects. Here then is a list you can click on to get where you need to go more easily.

Songs
Quintet Recordings
Quartet Recording
Early Vinyl
BassDrumBone
Solo Recordings
Duos
Trios
Chamber Works
Other Projects of Interest


Those of you familiar with my work will understand that this release is a significant departure from everything else I've done as a composer. Yet there is a continuum marked by the presence of a number of musicians (Wolter Wierbos, Ellery Eskelin, Herb Robertson, James Emery in particular) with whom I have had ongoing associations for many years. This project started as a challenge to myself to create something outside my comfort zone of composing and production. The ideas for music and text developed independently at first and over time began to influence each other in an organic way. I worked with each musician seperately sometimes with sequenced tracks, sometimes with some of the tracks I had recorded with others. Slowly each piece took a shape as I edited and crafted the audio into position in the computer. The group that accompanies each piece changes on each track and inbetween each piece there is an audio poem that serves as a link and foreshadow to some of the content of the next piece. The project would not have been possible without the singer Lisa Sokolov who transformed my melodic and lyric ideas into the magic of song. For more info and its available through this site.

 

"Johnny's Corner Song "is the debut recording of my new quartet formation. It's taken from a live recording made in Groningen, Holland in November of 1997. It features Robin Eubanks on trombone, Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone and Mark Dresser on bass. It is sold via this web page and at concerts but will not be distributed to record stores. The CD became available in March of 1998. (available through this site only)

 

 

 


Devils Paradise is the long awaited second release of my current working quartet. The personnel features Ray Anderson on trombone, Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax and Mark Dresser on bass. This recording is the first studio recording I have done of either my quartet or quintet and its approach is shaped by a concise approach to the thematic material. Many of these tunes have been recorded before, and I believe in many ways these versions are definitive. The recording was proceeded by many months of performances in the US and I think this played a significant role in the way in which the pieces achieve a singular vitality. I wanted to make a cd that would withstand many listenings and I think it lives up to that goal. (available through this site)

 

 

 

"Outerbridge Crossing" was recorded in New Haven, Connecticut in 1985. It was released in 1987 in vinyl and later as a cd by Sound Aspects records of Germany. This recording is still in print. Much of the music written for this quintet was composed in 1979 and first performed in 1980 with the Ray Anderson Quartet (the same band that is documented on Harrisburg Half-Life (Moers Music). The group has both Ray Anderson and Mark Helias carrying over from our then eight years of work as a collective trio. I had met Ernst Reijseger two years prior on a Company performance in N.Y.C. and this was the first time I had found a way to incorporate him into my music. The baritone saxophonist David Mott became a good friend during the mid-seventies when we both lived in New Haven. The title track "Outerbridge Crossing" will be the subject of a future release that will, among other works, trace the evolution of this piece after this recording from a performance at the Knitting Factory in 1989, another from the 1990 quartet tour, and one more recent version by the quintet. (CDR copy purchasable by request)

 

 

"Special Detail" was recorded in Bielefeld, Germany as a co-production between the WDR and HatArt Records. It is the second release of the quintet, and the personnel for this date in December of 1990 represents a bridge between the instrumentation of "Outerbridge Crossing" and all of the cds that follow this date. Don Byron is featured on baritone sax in addition to clarinet, Ed Schuller has the bass chair, Wolter Wierbos makes his first appearance with the quintet on trombone and Ernst Reijseger on cello is the only player who carries over from the previous Cd. The pieces, "Special Detail" and "Taffia" were first developed in an undocumented cooperative quartet called TenRenRen. That group included both Don Byron and Mark Dresser along with guitarist Brandon Ross. "Beef" and "Wooferlo" were previously recorded as trio pieces with BassDrumBone. (out of print)

 

 

"Down to the Wire", our second recording for HatArt records, was supposed to be the first documentation of the quintet personnel that continue's to this day. However a few days before this tour of 1990 was to begin our cellist, Ernst Reijseger, found himself unable to walk due to extreme pain from a slipped disk. So I hastily managed to rearrange the new repertoire for a quartet of Michael, Wolter, Mark and myself. The material worked well for quartet as it turned out and this tour and recording's success planted the interest for me to eventually develop my current American based quartet. Works included on this recording include the closest thing we have ever done to a hit, "If you Like", the wintry ode to Vienna, "Waltz Anywhere", the first recording of "N.T.", "Back Again Some Time" and a performance from Kito in Bremen of Michael Moore's elegant ballad, "Debby Warden". (out of print)

 

 

 


Demon Chaser was recorded with and without an audience at the Ottenbruchner Bahnhof in Wuppertal, Germany. It comes from our tour in Europe of 1993 and features a variety of works including the first documentation of a piece for the quintet outside of my own compositions, in this case an arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night inTunisia". Also included is a quintet arrangement of a work originally recorded with BassDrumBone entitled "More Stuttin' with Some Mutton. There is a feature for the special vocabulary of trombonist Wolter Wierbos entitled "Buoys". The piece makes use of a damaged straight mute that Wolter had plumbed for it's unique buzzing quality. Other works include the original recording of "Slamadam", the title work "Demon Chaser" and one of my favorite structured collective works, "Hollerup". It is unfortunate that this recording is out of print. I encourage you to write Werner Uehlinger of HatArt records and complain about this records current unavailability.(out of print, but is the first to be slated for re-release)

 

 

"The Marmalade King" is an extended suite that was completed, toured and recorded in 1995. It is made up of five sections that flow one into the next. It is conceived as a musical equivalent to a children's story, with each section, structured like a chapter. The titles of each section reflect this idea by suggesting the opening line of a chapter, such as "Having wandered this far". The notion is that the music takes over where the title leaves off. Among other musical elements the suite features five unaccompanied solos by each member of the quintet. (out of print)

 

 

 

This one was released in March of 1995 to coincide with a tour we did in the U.K and Europe. Most of the material comes from a performance in Holland that also yielded "The Marmalade King (Hat Art 6164). It features quintet versions of pieces that were first recorded on the "Down to the Wire" quartet cd from 1990 including "If you Like" and "Waltz Anywhere". Also featured is "Slamadam" which was first heard on "Demon Chaser"cd also on Hat Art. The works have evolved quite a bit from the time of their first recording. A combination of two earliar works "Taffia" (Hat Art cd 6000, "Special Detail" and "Threnody for Charles Mingus" which comes from the quintet's first recording "Outerbridge Crossing" Sound Aspects (SA 017) is also part of this program. Closing the cd is a relaxed blues, first recorded with BassDrumBone called "Pumbum". Overall this record features some wonderful soloing from each member of the quintet. (out of print)

 

 

 

The seventh release of the quintet features two extended works, "Perfect World" and "Little Suite" both recorded live in Birmingham, England. "Little Suite" is like a cousin to it's predecessor "The Marmalade King" connecting a series of shorter works together with unaccompanied solos from each member of the quintet. The title track offers the most elaborate multi-layered thematic structure to date, building upon the tiered-tempo approach of earliar works including "Outerbridge Crossing" and "The Checkerboard laughed and eluded everyone". Also included is "N.T. (quintet version)", one of my thornier themes, first heard on the Hat Art release "Down to the Wire" in a quartet setting. The album closes with two pieces recorded live at the Stadtgarten in Koln, Germany. They include an Ellington gem, from his "River Suite" entitled "Village of the Virgins" and a kwela I wrote called "Sinsulu Song". (still available through this site only)




This is the eighth and final cd of the 90's quintet taken from the 1996 tour which was the most ambitous set of concerts we presented in our many years of playing together (all together 27 gigs in 28 days). I decided to return to shorter pieces, relative to the previous extended suite works that dominate "Perfect World" and "The Marmalade King". Taken from radio recordings of performances in Sweden and Berlin there the group is in pinnacle form, sharply navigating yet another new book of material with swing and grace. Though advantage is taken again at this group's collective ensemble interplay, I started to head in the direction of more soloistic formats that would characterize the quartet work following this band. I live up to the title as well with a predominance of 3/4 or waltz-like material that just seemed to be emerging from my pen at the time. The pieces "Gitar" and "Gospel Waltz" are particular favorites of mine, accentuating all the best qualities of this special group in it's many shades of musical endeavor. (still available)

 

 

 

"Kwambe" is my first recording (vinyl only) and features a collection of projects that overviews the development of my work of the 70's in New Haven, Connecticut. The title track features an adaption of Anthony Davis' working group of the late seventies with the inclusion of both Wes Brown on Ghanian flute and bass and Mark Helias on bass. Jay Hoggard plays both the ballaphone and vibraphone, Anthony Davis on piano and I play both drums and vibraphone. Kwambe is an extended work in four sections that makes use of some elaborate phasing patterns and features some lovely flute playing from Wes Brown. The work "First Landscape: A Suite in Three Parts" features a trio I would love to revive some day with George Lewis and Anthony Davis. One of my earliar solo works "Walking Alone the Tall Trees Sang" is included and the album closes with "Speak Brother" the first recording of the collective trio, BassDrumBone with Ray Anderson and Mark Helias. (vinyl only and still available through this site only)

 

 

"Oahspe" (recorded in the fall of 1978) is the first full record of the collective trio, BassDrumBone, which was formed in 1977 . The first recording of the trio is of the piece "Speak Brother" which appears on Auricle Record's first release "Kwambe" The word Oahspe (pronounced Oh-wahs-pay) means earth, sky and spirit and comes from a prophetic book of the same name written by a mid-nineteenth century by ....It served as the group's name for a short time until it was discovered that there was a practicing group of Oahspeans based in Anaheim, California. When the leader of this group informed me that she had contact with 'Jehovah The I Am' and said she had been told we should switch our name to "Snowflake" and then "our music would far" we decided a change was in order. The record features works by everyone including Mark Helias' "Gyro" which features a lengthy phase repetition (15 against 14 if I remember correctly) which a few customers mistook for a skip in the record. One of Ray's early works "Gibberish" receives an inspired performance here. And my first recording of "Beef" is included that is brandished with a vibraphone solo that ends with light bulbs being thrown on the keys. Like "Solo Works" this was recorded in New Haven at a wonderful space, the Educational Center for the Arts, by Dean Roumanis with M.L.A.S. audiophile analog machinery. It is a recording whose quality, both technical & musical have held up very well over time (vinyl only and still available through this site only).

 

In maybe one of our most strategically confusing moves, our collective trio finds it's second recording under Ray's name. At the time Ray had no particular project of his own that he wanted to do so he asked BassDrumBone (then a trio in search of a name) about doing this date for Black Saint. What followed was years of misunderstandings about our collective trio being a group led by Ray, which it never was. All that aside there are some gems on this date recorded in New York City at Classic Sound by David Baker. "Tapajack" one of Ray's, dedicated to his tap dancing wife, Jackie receives its recorded premiere here. Mark's beautiful ballad, "Limbo" which was slotted to be on the previous Oahspe release but had to be cut, because of a recording problem, is sweetly rendered here. The only recording of "Paucartambo" a piece I wrote that features steel drums and a rare appearance of Ray on congas has a very cooking rendition on this date. (still available from Black Saint or North Country)

 

 

"You Be" was recorded in the fall of 1985 at the famous Ludwigsberg studio in Germany and is the third recording of BassDrumBone. Our producer Stephen Meyner had overlooked that I don't travel with a drum set so when we arrived I was faced with rummaging through the closets and basement of the studio trying scare up something resembling a trapset. In the end you would never know it, but if you had a look at what I taped together out of microphone stands and toilet paper rolls you would be amused. Another one of those "challenges" of being an improvisor. The record open's with Helias' "Question Mark" a stable in our repertoire ever since. Also by Mark is "Boxcars" for the traditionally challenged which gets a spirited reading here. Ray has a work on here we have never done since called "Stole Stroll" and as well the title track is his, a piece that has had a wide variety of interpretations in its day. A more extended work of mine dedicated to the late master drummer and personal friend Edward Blackwell called "Edward's Dance" has a very niced performance here, as well as the blues "Pumbum" which shows up later in a quartet version on the cd "Slamadam". (not sure of availability)

 

Recorded at the Bergozzi studio on BassDrumBone's 1987 European tour, this fourth recording of the trio, was to be followed by a six year hiatus of the band. The title track, "Wooferlo" has it's first incarnation here, with a later version showing up for the quintet on the cd "Special Detail". Also receiving it's first performance here is my piece "Space" which shows up again in a more orchestrated version on the cd "Down to the Wire" by the quartet. Mark Helias has many works featured here including his first recording of the work "Beau Regard" and also "Sambali" which shows up on the more recent "Hence the Reason" cd on Enja. But my favorite on this cd is of his much older work called "Arocka" which sports a quite demented interplay. Ray has his first version of "Alligatory Crocodile" which was to be later converted into the moniker for his current funk band. (still available from Black Saint or North Country)

 


This recording was the first to be released since the group returned to active touring in 1993 after a six year hiatus. Recorded with and without an audience at the Bim Huis in 1995 the recording combines a few new versions of previously recorded material including "Speak Brother" (originally released on "Kwambe") retitled "Speak Again Brother". Most of the rcording features previously unrecorded material including two from Ray, "Lips Apart" and the title track "Hence the Real Reason" several from Mark including "Moto Proto" , "Last One in, First One Out". Also featured on the recording is one of mine we have played for years, often as an encore but never recorded, "When Zweeble Walked By". The recording is by my one of favorite engineers, Dick Lucas, who did many of the quintet recordings (still available).

 

 

BassDrumBone's sixth and most recent release finds it's home on my recently recussitated Auricle Records. Culled from our private archive this record features a number of works that were never released on record by this group, including Ray's "Elegy for Willie Vargas" which was recorded under a differnt name on his 1980 quartet album for Moers Music, and also "Portrait of Mark Dresser" which also originally hailed from that same record. Mark Helias ' "Question Mark" has a very powerful live performance here along with a magical version of a piece originally titled "Mudpie Anthem", here retitled "Mississippi Mud". A work I later developed for quintet and released on the record "Outerbridge Crossing" called "Endorphin" is heard here in it's original trio version and a newer work, part of my meat series, called "Pork" is featured as well. That work dates from a performance in 1996, but most of the rest of the pieces come from live recordings from 1986 and 7. (still available through this site only)

 

 

This BassDrumBone CD was recorded in 1997 at the Bim Huis with one of my favorite engineers, Dick Lucas. The plan was to have this released on Enja to followup with Hence the Real Reason, but it never came to be. Dick Lucas felt so strongly that this recording should be out there that he offered to put it out on his own label, Data Records. There is some wonderful performances here, including a trio recording of two pieces that turned up soon after on Johnny's Corner Song (AUR-4), including that title track, here renamed as "Johnnie Jones" and also a trio version of Mark's beautiful ballad, "Gentle Ben". Also featured is a tipping (our word for, among other things, swinging) "Kinda Garnerish", a piece of Rays for pianist Errol Garner. Perhaps the most distintive work is the title track is Mark Helias' "March of Dimes" which gets off to an unexpected start with a vocal rendition of the theme. Rendition is one word, perhaps oral reconstruction might be another. Tipping over!. The recording marks the group's 25th anniversary and needless to say is beautifully recorded. (available through this site)

 

 

"Solo Works"- (vinyl lp) was recorded by Dean Roumanis in 1980 in New Haven, Connecticut, with the high end analog equipment of Mark Levinson. It is comprised of four compositions, including a fully scored work (see Nagual Music) for trapset entitled "Black Wind" which concentrates on sounds created by combining cymbal and drum resonances. Also featured is a work by composer/bassist Mark Helias called "The Heming Way", which as I recall took me months to master all it's polymetrical layers. Composer Earl Howard has his first documented work included here, "C & D". It is a piece constructed from a rigorous process of cataloging my entire repertoire of extended techniques. Finally a work for tape in the classic concrete style, realized in the summer of 1980, "The Dawntreader" complete's this first solo record. The material for that piece is culled entirely from barely audible sound techniques that were mostly ineffective in performance but rich material for tape manipulation. (still available through this site only)



"Tubworks" is a program of acoustic solo works for the trap drums. I developed & toured most of these compositions between 1983-5. Most of these recordings were engineered by Dean Roumanis at his home in the summer of 1985 using the M.L.A.S. rebuilt Studer analog recorder. The record opens with "Four Studies for Single Instruments" which successively explores a wide pallette of sonic material for the snare drum, hi-hat, bass drum and cymbal, each one seperately. The record also features "Trance Tracks" which is a polymetrical work, interlacing rhythmic phrases of different lengths on each limb. "Like So Many Sails" is a percussion work employing a collection of wood blocks and junk metal which I somehow managed to drag all over Europe in a trunk. Closing the record is a recording of the first performance of "Dance of the Sphygmoids" from 1983 at Roulette in New York City. This record is only available in vinyl and there are very few copies left. A remixed version of "Trance Tracks" and a studio version of "Dance of the Sphygmoids" can be heard on the cd "Electro-Acoustic Solo Works 1983-94." You can now purchase this in cdr format, in a digital repackaging of this out of print LP, complete with all cover pic and info.


"Acoustic Solo Works 1983 -1994" is comprised of an overview of a very active decade of solo work for the acoustic trap set. Three works that were a part of the "Tubworks" Lp appear on this collection, including the opening track "Trance Tracks". This version is identical to the one that is on "Tubworks" except that it has been remastered with, I feel, a much better and clearer sound so that all of the details are more perceivable. "Trance Tracks 2" never was released before, it was planned as a bonus track to the cd release of "Tubworks" but in the end that never happened. Also included is the piece "Dance of the Sphygmoids" which was also on "Tubworks" but on this cd is heard in a later, faster and more intense version. "Extensions" was a work that predated the Tubworks program, one which I ceased performing as some of the techniques I can no longer reproduce. "Tyrolienne" has been a part of my solo concerts since around 1987, it culminates many of my extended techniques from this period. The cd closes with an homage to Art Blakey, "For Buhaina" that was improvised at the end of a quintet concert soon after hearing of Boo Boo's passing. (still available through this site only, very few left will not be reprinted)

 

I like to think of this recording of "Electro-Acoustic Solo Works 1984-95" as a collection of stories. Each piece on the collection was an extended project that developed over a year to two year's time. The media involved for each project is different. The earliar works involve analog tape in the classic "concrete" style. Despite all our advances in the digital domain I still find this methodology fresh and exciting. As strides in the technical realm of electronic music have developed, the evolution of my work in this domain reflects my changeover to live digital electronics which offer exciting possibilities for live interaction. Most of the works on the record involve some acoustic percussion as well including "Chatterlings" for midi triggered sampler and drums which is in my current repertoire. Mostly though this recording documents works I no longer perform and that were quite elaborate efforts to perform. Probably chief among them is "Aivilik Rays" which was originally an hour and fifteen minute long concert length work inspired by the Artic landscape, it's people and the peculiar history of the outside world's confrontation and manipulation of it's unique character. (still available through this site only and very few left, will not be reprinted)



This is "Tom & Gerry", look very carefully on the cover and you will see extreme cloeups of our cartoon namesakes. Tom is Thomas Lehn an analogue synthesist who plays a British 60's synthesizer called the Synthi, which was the UK's answer to the Moog. We ended up doing a duo tour in 1997 after first attempting to get a quartet off the ground with Mats Gustafsson and Barry Guy. But the gigs that came did not support but two of us and what resulted was a very rich and sastifying duo which we documented assidously for our own research. The more we listened to the results of our improvisations together, the more it felt that the material comprised a CD, so I compiled and edited and mastered what I thought was a good overview from the tapes. Years passed nothing happened and then Jon Abbey of Erstwhile Records took an interest and his enthusiasm and Thomas' hours of intensive relistening to all of the concerts yielded two cds of very rich, diverse and compelling material. I think each cd forms a very complete itinerary and you will be suprised by where you go with this music. (available through this site)

The second release of Tom & Gerry is entitled "Fire Works" and was released on a small label, Umbrella Recordings of a big
supporter of ours, Ian Davis of Carrboro, NC. His enthusiasm for what we were doing went so far as to bail of us a cancelled gig by offering his house for a concert at the last minute. It is culled from a series of performances done while touring the South and Midwest of the US in 2000. The material of the cd overall could be characterized as more intense and decidedly energetic then its predecessor. The titles of the cd are also quite colorful being adopted from various explosives and fireworks we perused while driving in the South. There are some very special moments recorded in Larue's Bar in Chatanooga, Tennessee which reachs a level of density that barely can manage to be held in the the grooves of the cd player. I am also quite fond of the last work on the cd which as it fades away way intesects with a truck driving by and a church bell in a completely magical way. It was one of those moments in a concert where a roomful of people share an experience in sound that is discovered only through the collective participation of everyones concentration and willingness to open their ears. We have since done more touring in the US and also in Europe. There is more to come. (available through this site)




This duo grew out of project initiated by choregrapher Daria Fain that took place in Paris in 1996 which also include the poet Andrew Levy. Andrea among her many gifts has been reading the Tarot for many years and has been using the Voyager Tarot cards which are exceptionally rich for their archetypal imagery. One can investigate the symbolism and infered meaning of the collaged imagery on these cards for many years. The cards became our way of establishing a framework for improvising. We recorded music inspired by cards that we randomly selected in our first session and after listening to the results, Andrea contacted the creator of the cards, James Wanless, to involve his input into making a set of recordings of particular cards in the set. On our second session in April of 1997 we had the benefit of James Wanless' reflections of the cards many meanings. The musical results have a unique clarity no doubt arising from the unconscious structure the cards offered. (available through this site)

 


This duo recording was made prior to our 1992 Marathon European Knitting Factory tour with and is our only document so far of our longstanding duo. I have a few pieces on the vibraphone, and their is one work with an instrument I built years before that can be best described as a giant wind chime made of industrial pipes that you dip in a bucket of water. Marilyn contributed a number of lovely pieces, including one that also appears as a trio work on the Kitchen Concerts cd. For More Info (Knitting Factory catalog).


 

 

 

This collective trio with Marilyn Crispell and Barry Guy came about at the 1993 Vancouver Jazz Festival. This recording was made at the Western Front without an audience, well actually Ken Pickering, Kevin Whitehead and John Corbett found a quiet place in the corner as witnesses. We had performed the night before at one of the other venues of the festival, as I remember I had a double header that night, two sets with Georg Graewe, John Butcher and Marcio Mattos, and then two sets with this trio. Got up early the next day to make this recording with Russ Summers as our producer. If you think there might be some fairly intense interplay in this combination, you would be correct. But my biggest surprise in listening back to this recording several months after it was made was no matter how ripping some of the material gets, there is remarkable harmonic continuity. I am particularly fond of "Violet Sparks in Soft Air" which made use of a Javanese gong I found lying about the Western Front. (still available through this site)

 



The idea to form this trio grew out of spending time together in the context of several Klaus Koenig projects in the mid 90's. "Gestalten" was recorded on the first tour we did in 1995 and at the time we were inbetween being a collective group or a trio led by Frank Gratkowski. This first record has pieces by each of us and a few collective improvisations. One interesting moment emerged when I discovered that the radiators in the Loft where we were recording had sonic possibilities. I found more and more ways to elicit musical texture from the heating system and so the resulting piece. "Stag Rustler" was born. You never know where the next sound will take you. Release on the Jazz Haus label from Koln this record remains available at this time. (available through this site)

 

This is the second recording of a trio I have been involved in since 1995. The first entitled "Gestalten" is on the Jazz Haus label of Koln. That recording included some collective works along with some of my own compositions and some collective pieces. The trio is led by clarinetist, bass clarinetist and alto saxophonist Frank Gratkowski whose compositions, are the focus of this second record. I got involved in producing this record as I felt the first set of choices taken primarily from a concert in Wuppertal did not in some cases bring out the best that the trio acheved on its two week tour in 1997. So along with my brother Jim, who mastered this recording we worked on the sound of some of the recordings we made ourselves on the tour and the result I feel captures some of the best work this trio has done. Frank's dedication to John Coltrane "Feld" is particularly riveting and I also am quite fond of the more languid and in this case stretched out version of "California Roll" which is dedicated to our good friend Michael Moore. This trio has evolved into a quartet led by Frank that includes Wolter Wierbos on trombone, Two great titles to look out for are "Kollaps" on Red Toucan and "Spectral Reflections" on Leo Records with a cd cover that is unappetizing but the music is superb!!!! (available through this site)

 

 

This was recorded during the 1991 Vancouver Jazz festival at the Western Front. It was the second release of this trio which specializes in creating improvised pieces that are well constructed and formally shaped works. This recording, which was produced by the ever enthusiatic Russ Summers, opens with an extended work "Lighthouse" that evolves from it's pastoral beginnings (bowed vibraphone, harmonized with bass harmonics from the piano) through several tiers of rhythmic density. Monk-ey-ing manages to evoke a playful reference to it's namesake and offers a different kind of swing feeling from standard 4/4. Speaking of 4/4 there is a high speed interhange that displays some ridiculous virtousity on the part of Georg and Ernst. There is a rich variety of material here but somehow there is also an overall cohesion that give this set of works it's own particular flavor. (available through this site)

 

 

From the ever mysterious Sound Aspects label comes the trio's third entry recorded over the duration of the November 1990 FMP festival. We actually performed for three nights in a row on the festival and this recording is taken from the last two nights, hence this cd's title "Zwei Nachte in Berlin". The titles of the work were created from somewhere in Ernst's father's memory/imagination and defy any direct translation into english (not neccessarily so definable in German either). The fourth selection on this cd "...und sie hatte den czardas im blut" I often use as demonstration of swinging pointalism (as opposed to the more calculated enterprises of the serialists). There is a moment where in one of the spaces of the sound canvas, you can hear something (a glass bottle is my guess) dropped on the concrete somewhere in the hall. Ernst, who has developed an artform out of reacting to the indiscretions of an audience/environment, deftly echoes this sound therby transforming, in a way Cage would admire, this ambience into the musical flow and cosequent direction of the music that follows. (out of print)

 

Released around the same time as the earliar recording date"Saturn Cycle", "Flex 27" which is back in print after being unavailable for some time, is distinguished from the other trio recordings, by a series of short vignettes recorded in a studio situation. "7 Saetze" was a different tact for a group so indebted to spontaneous creation with no preordained plan. In these seven pieces, none over two minutes length, we instead worked collaboratively to shape each piece, sometimes doing three or four takes of the same material. The recording is rounded out with some live performances in Germany and Amsterdam. (out of print)


 

 

Recorded at the Loft in Koln on November 13th of 1994 this cd captures most of a night that found a focus on the exploration of a lot of rhythmic material. The opening piece "La Bonne Vitesse Pt. (approximation1)" is also a good example of how the lead voice in the interplay of the trio is fluidly passed around; the interchange of roles seemless. Recorded by Ansgar Ballhorn and mixed by Georg, this collection is full of detail. As this group has evolved it seems the pieces have taken an even more crystaline form. These pieces are something that through composed composition can not be, in my opinion. We are often dumbfounded after a performance as to just how it all happened and why it works so well. I must admit this is my current favorite though the next one recorded in Istanbul promises more amazement. (still available through this site)

 


La Bonne Vitesse, the sixth cd of the trio has had an auspicious beginning. It was listed for release in Random Acoustic's catalog for ages, recorded in Istanbul in 1994 around the same period as "Saturn Cycle" and "Flex 27". It still remains unreleased officially. However I pressed a small quantity of cdrs of it so we would have available on our tour in the US in November (99). The performance takes yet another direction from previous performances of the trio living up in every way to the cystaline forms and unpredictable twists and turns of this durable chemistry. However the recording quality leaves much to be desired, as the piano suffers in the balance. The plan according to Random Acoustics is to try to improve the balance before the recording is officially released on RA. I am bit dubious about the possibility of repairing the sound, but wonders can be worked in the digital domain. Meanwhile, for the hard core among you, check out the music on the cdr I have bootlegged. (available through this site only)

 

 

On the occassion of our tenth anniversary of playing improvised music together we did a tour in the United States and Canada that culminated with a performance at Ann Arbor's Kerrytown Concert House. Russ Summers seized the occassion for his NuScope label which had been inspired in part from his passion for improvised music, which took hold around the time he produced the "View from Points West" recording. David and Deanna from the Kerrytown went the extra mile and rustled up a vibraphone for the recording, so more colors are at hand. Once again we find new ground, and with a multitrack recording there is an extra level of transperancy and clarity in this live recording. Everyone is in fine form, there are several textural excursions which defy explanation, and the culminating energy in some of the longer works is perfectly over the top. (available through this site)

 

 

 

The first recording of this collective trio was recorded by Michael McDonald at the stellar, ? studio in Stamford, Connecticut in the summer of 1997. The concept of recording a cd with this combination had been brewing for some time. There is Michael and Fred's long association, having been classmates together at the New England Conservatory in the 70's, and their more recent work together under Michael's leadership in a trio that included Mark Helias. Michael had also brought the three of us together on one of his first Ramboy recording's "Home Game". That meeting inspired Fred and I to get together from time to time as a duo and improvise. Fred I had met originally while working together with Jane Bloom in the early 90's. The material on the record comes from all three of us and includes the title piece by Fred based on a William Carlos Williams poem "Thirteen ways of Looking at a Blackbird". There are some duos as well, one featuring steel drums with Micheal's clarinet, another of "Star Eyes" for me and Fred, and a remarkable rendition of "Speak Low" with Michael and Fred. This tour eventually inspired our 1999 tour in Canada and the USA which yielded our second record, "Focus". (available through this site)



This second recording by our collective trio, whose title track of our first recording became our namesake, was recorded again by Michael McDonald, also in the summer but this time at Palmetto Record's studio near the Deleware river in Buck's County, Pennsylvania. It came towards the end of a very successful tour of the US and Canada in June and July of 1999. More original's by all three of us populate the offerings including Michael's title track "Focus", as well as a work of Fred's that dates back many years, I remember doing it with Jane Ira Bloom ten years ago based on "Confirmation" by Charlie Parker called appropiately "Janeolgy". I have two works on the record that by occassion also appear on the trio record with Michel Wintsch (on Leo Records), "En Tee", a thinly veiled trio interpretation of N.T., which appeared several time before on previous quintet (Perfect World) and quartet (Down to the Wire) recordings as well as "Identity" rendered here with remarkable delicacy. Two repertoire works appear as well, Jackie Byard's "One Note to My Wife" and Misha Mengleberg's "Habanera". When the cd arrived in the mail, and having not heard it in some time, I was moved by what this trio conveys in it's interaction. There is a chemistry here that is formidable. And good news, this one is not so difficult to find (well maybe in Europe it remains a problem), distributed by Allegro. (available through this site)

 

Ever since the beginning of the nineties it has been a desire to assemble a collection of chamber works. Around 1990/91 I was commissioned by two brave, maybe reckless composers to write a work for programs they were assembling at the time. The first was Don Byron, who had a sextet at the time called Semaphore. I composed "Circus" for the group and the premiere was something of a disater. I saw I had alot to learn about writing for an ensemble who stuck to the page, even as the ship was sinking. Still I felt the material with revision would be interesting, and I think the version, now pared down to a quintet on this cd bears that belief out. The other commission from bass trombonist, David Titcomb, for a very interesting instrumentation of violin, cello, contrabass, piano, percussion and bass trombone fared better on its premiere, but also needed more development and revision. Featured on this cd are two string quartets, both new works. One of them, "The Visiting Tank" also features a cameo by yours truly on sampler. (available through this site)

 

If I had to pick my favorite Braxton CD this would be the one. Recorded after six nights in Yoshi's, which was documented in the earliar release on Music & Arts. I think it captures the group at it's pinnacle, and the recording done by the local public radio station has immediacy lacking in the Yoshi's recording. This is the quartet with Marilyn Crispell and Mark Dresser which performed together for nine years from 1985 to 1994 when it gave it's last performance in Paris. The reaction was so strong after the first set that we received a three minute standing ovation, it is a moment I will never forget. But it is actually the second set that brings chills and tears to my eyes each time I listen to it. It reaches a level of intensity that is nothing short of explosive. The experience of working with Anthony Braxton made a huge impact on me and my musical development, one that I am forever indebted to. If you were ever lucky enough to hear this band perform, or even if you weren't this document makes quite clear that passion and intellect can be melded into an art essential for survival. Find this cd, own it and share it with others (unfortunately out of print)

 

A very special group, Tambastics began as trio with Robert Dick, Mark Dresser and myself, and just prior to this recording being made, hyperpianist, Denman Maroney joined the group. Recorded in 1990 and 91 in Brooklyn with tremendous care in recording and mastering, this quartet explores a very wide world of sound, and with compostions from everyone in the group, harnesses this spectacular vocabulary into formally coherent and wildly coloristic pieces. Regrettably the group has been peripheral to the individual offerings of it's members, and so has remained on the sidelines as far as touring and appearances. But it still goes on with an appearance in 1999 at the Ulrichsberg Kaliedophon most recently. Its in print still available from me directly, Music & Arts website has some Real Audio files of each piece. (available through this site)

 

 

 

 




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