New CD From Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings Coming September 15th

June 17, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

On September 15th, Firehouse 12 Records will release Madeleine Dreams (FH12-04-01-011), the second recording from cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum‘s improvising chamber ensemble, SpiderMonkey Strings. The seven year-old group features Kyoko Kitamura (voice), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba) and Luther Gray (drums).

The centerpiece of this release is Bynum’s titular composition, a six-movement secular oratorio inspired by Madeleine is Sleeping (Harcourt), a 2004 novel written by his sister, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and its theme of the logic of dreams. The piece, which the band has performed on tour since its March 2008 debut at New York’s Roulette, draws text from the book, a magical-realist fable of a girl’s coming of age that moves between dreams and reality in 19th century France. Madeleine Dreams also documents Bynum’s distinctive arrangements of music by Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra.

“Dreams, and the literature of dreaming, including the work of such authors as Borges, Murakami, Okri, and Calvino, are an ongoing artistic inspiration for me,” writes Bynum in the liner notes. “The logic of dreams shows how radically yet naturally one’s subconscious can transform known elements into the surreal, seamlessly moving between the mundane and the fantastic. The remaining pieces are by three of my musical heroes, each of whom embraced dreams, mythology, and fiction in his own way. I also like the idea of SpiderMonkey Strings as a most unusual kind of repertory band.”

Named after two mythical tricksters, Anansi the Spider of West Africa and the Monkey King of China, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings has performed a diverse range of extended suites with a genre-defying spirit and an amiable sense of humor since 2002. The band first took shape as a string quartet with cornet and guitar created to perform music Bynum wrote for a short film score. He later added tuba and drums and began writing eclectic long-form works for the group, which he documented on its 2005 debut, Other Stories [Three Suites] (482 Music). The recent addition of Ms. Kitamura furthers the evolution of the group’s sound by bringing the implicit narrative elements of Bynum’s music to the forefront.

Critics have called Bynum “a young brass master and compelling composer” (Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix), “a remarkable writer, improviser and bandleader” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com) and “one of the most exciting figures in jazz’s new power generation” (Steve Dollar, Time Out Chicago). “Over the past decade,” wrote Kevin Le Gendre in Jazzwise, “Bynum has shown himself to be a worthy addition to the canon of maverick trumpeters that includes such illustrious names as Wadada Leo Smith, Ron Miles, Cuong Vu and Arve Henrikson.” The Chicago Reader‘s Peter Margasak adds, “Taylor Ho Bynum cemented his reputation as one of the most compelling and progressive trumpeters and bandleaders currently active, at home in every corner of the creative-music map.”

Bynum’s expansive resume includes collaborations with both his contemporaries and legendary figures alike, most notably the iconic saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, with whom he has performed and recorded extensively over the past decade. His most recent releases as a leader/co-leader include Positive Catastrophe’s Garabatos Volume One (Cuneiform Records), The Thirteenth Assembly’s (un)sentimental (Important Records), and the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet’s Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY). He is also a member of such groups as The Convergence Quartet, Jason Kao Hwang’s Edge, the Joe Morris Bass Quartet and the large ensembles of Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor. In addition, he is a curator and board member for the Festival of New Trumpet (FONT) Music and a partner in Firehouse 12 Records.

Learn more at http://www.taylorhobynum.com


Taylor Ho Bynum/Tomas Fujiwara Duo Live on WFMU

March 26, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Last night’s episode of WFMU’s The Long Rally hosted by Scott McDowell featured a live set from the longstanding duo of cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

The pair played six tunes, including selections from its 2007 release, True Events (482 Music).

Click here to listen to the entire show.  

Their live set begins 12 minutes in.


AAJ Contributors Pick Their Favorite 2008 Releases

January 16, 2009

AllAboutJazz.com has posted a compilation of “Best of 2008″ lists from 36 of its contributors. 

We’re proud to report the following client releases were named amongst the various writers’ top tens:

Jason Adasiewicz, Rolldown (482 Music)
The Blueprint Project with Han Bennink, People I Like (Creative Nation Music)
Bill Dixon, 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity)
Garrison Fewell/Eric Hofbauer, The Lady of Khartoum (Creative Nation Music)
Mary Halvorson Trio, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12)
William Parker Quartet, Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity)
Mario Pavone, Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings)
Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings) 
Eri Yamamoto Trio, Redwoods (AUM Fidelity) 

Congratulations to all the musicians and labels recognized for their work in 2008.


2008 Cadence Record Poll

January 15, 2009

The Jan/Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Cadence arrived yesterday and with it the results of the magazine’s annual Record Poll.

Bill Dixon’s 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity) earned the fourth place slot in the Readers’ Choices Poll (only nine votes behind the winner three slots above), as well as a full-page review further on in that same issue written by Jason Bivins.

Bivins wrote, “Put briefly, this group doesn’t once (collectively or individually) commit the cardinal sin of large ensemble group improv: overplaying.  Rather, they listen, leave space and make each dynamic shift count as they realize Dixon’s dark musical vision.  That vision emerges in great detail, thanks firstly to a quite rich and colorful score, but also thanks to a very clear recording.”

In the Critics’ Choices Poll, for which contributors choose their 10 favorite releases covered in one of the magazine’s four 2008 issues, Jay Collins picked Mario Pavone’s Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings) and Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown (482 Music), Michael Coyle chose Eri Yamamoto’s Duologue (AUM Fidelity), and Michael Rosenstein selected Peter Evans’ The Peter Evans Quartet (Firehouse 12 Records). 

Congratulations to the clients listed above and all those recognized in the poll results.


New Reviews In The Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings

January 12, 2009

As we announced here a month ago, the ninth and most recent edition of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings was released in early December. 

After an exhaustive search of all 1545 pages of reviews, we bring you a list of the titles we’ve represented that received new reviews in this edition (below).

Many others were also included in this edition, but the content remained unchanged from the previous edition, released in November 2006.

Anthony Braxton 12+1tet, 9 Compositions (2006) (Firehouse 12 Records)
Charles Gayle, Time Zones (Tompkins Square)
Dave Rempis Quartet, Out of Season (482 Music)
Fewell/Hofbauer Duo, The Lady of Khartoum (Creative Nation Music)
Garrison Fewell, Red Door Number 11 (Splas(h) Records)
George Schuller, Hellbent (Playscape Recordings)
George Schuller Quintet, Round ‘Bout Now (Playscape)
George Schuller’s Circle Wide, Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape)
Greg Burk, Ivy Trio (482 Music)
Greg Burk, Nothing, Knowing (482 Music)
Greg Burk, The Way In (482 Music)
Greg Burk Quartet, Carpe Momentum (Soul Note)
Greg Burk Trio, Checking In (Soul Note)
Harris Eisenstadt, The Soul and Gone (482 Music)
JD Parran & Mark Deutsch, OMEGATHORP: Living City (Y’All of New York)
Mario Pavone Quartet, Boom (Playscape)
Mario Pavone Sextet, Deez to Blues (Playscape)
Matt Bauder, Weary Already of the Way (482 Music)
Michael Musillami Trio with Mark Feldman, The Treatment (Playscape)
Michel Lambert, Out Twice (482 Music)
Mike Reed, In The Context Of (482 Music)
Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly, Last Year’s Ghost (482 Music)
Peter Evans Quartet, The Peter Evans Quartet (Firehouse 12 Records)
Principle Hope, Principle Hope (Sublingual)
Rob Reddy’s Gift Horse, A Hundred Jumping Devils (Reddy Music)
Rob Reddy’s Small Town, The Book of the Storm (Reddy Music)
Taylor Ho Bynum & Tomas Fujiwara, True Events (482 Music)
Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12 Records)
Tchicai/Fewell/Tracanna, Big Chief Dreaming (Soul Note)
The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Rip Tear Crunch (482 Music)
The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Hunter-Gatherers (482 Music)
Thomas Chapin Trio, Ride (Playscape )
Tom Abbs, The Animated Adventures of Knox (482 Music)


2008 Village Voice Jazz Poll

December 31, 2008

The results of the 2008 Village Voice Jazz Poll are in and we’re pleased to report that five of our clients’ releases made the top 30 in the Jazz Album of the Year category.

#16: William Parker Quartet, Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity)
#21: Mary Halvorson Trio, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records) 
#24: Mario Pavone, Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings)
#27: William Parker, Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity)
#29: Bill Dixon, 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur (AUM Fidelity)

Congratulations are also in order for the following releases included on individual voters’ top 10 lists as part of the polling.

Jason Adasiewicz, Rolldown (482 Music)
Roy Campbell, Akhenaten Suite (AUM Fidelity)
Yoon Sun Choi/Jacob Sacks, Imagination (Yeah Yeah Records)
Nicole Mitchell, Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12 Records)
Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings)
Eri Yamamoto, Duologue (AUM Fidelity)
Eri Yamamoto Trio, Redwoods (AUM Fidelity)


Reminder: Taylor Ho Bynum’s November Tour Comes to New York’s Jazz Gallery Friday and Saturday

November 13, 2008

 

On Friday, November 14th and Saturday, November 15th, cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum will perform with three of his own bands over the course of two nights at New York’s Jazz Gallery.  These performances are part of a larger tour celebrating both the release of the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet’s second recording, Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY 675), and the most recent performances of his secular oratorio, Madeleine Dreams, with his improvising chamber jazz ensemble, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings.  The latter will be recorded at the end of the tour for Firehouse 12 Records.

Bynum will kick-off his two-night stand on Friday night at 9:00 p.m. with an opening set by his longstanding trio, featuring fellow Boston natives, Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).  His sextet, which on this night will augment his trio with Jason Kao Hwang (violin and viola), Matt Bauder (tenor sax and clarinet) and Evan O’Reilly (guitar), will then perform a 10:30 p.m. set featuring music from its latest CD.  The following night, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings will perform Madeleine Dreams, as well as other original material and music by Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra, at 9:00 and 10:30 p.m.  The group will feature Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba) and Luther Gray (drums), with special guest, Kyoko Kitamura (vocals and electronics).

The Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet’s multiple guitar line-up was inspired by bands such as Miles Davis’ Dark Magus and Agharta groups, Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time and Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus.  Two chordal instruments, along with the rest of the flexible and unusual instrumentation, also allows Bynum to juxtapose independent sub-ensembles within a larger group (including the core trio), a compositional method inspired by the music of Charles Ives and Anthony Braxton.  Critics called the group’s 2007 debut, The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12 Records), “consistently compelling listening” (Time Out New York) and “the shape of jazz to come” (Philip Clark, The Wire), noting that the band “is like no other outfit around” (Brent Burton, JazzTimes).

Named after two mythic tricksters, Anansi the Spider of West Africa and the Monkey King of China, SpiderMonkey Strings has performed a diverse range of Bynum’s extended suites with a genre-defying spirit and distinctive sense of humor.  In March 2008, the group presented the world premiere performance of Madeleine Dreams at Roulette in New York before embarking on a tour of Belgium and The Netherlands.  The piece was inspired by the novel Madeleine is Sleeping (Harcourt), a 2004 National Book Award finalist written by Bynum’s sister, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, drawing text from the book and further exploring its theme of “the logic of dreams,” a recurring thread in Bynum’s work as a composer.  The band will document Madeleine Dreams in the studio on November 22nd after additional performances in Boston and New Haven as the follow-up to its 2003 debut, Other Stories [Three Suites] (482 Music).

“Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum is at the forefront of a younger generation of creative musicians in New York,” writes AllAboutJazz.com’s John Sharpe. “He combines thrilling improvisation with stealthy composition, unconfined by genre.”  Other critics agree, calling him “one of the most exciting figures in jazz’s new power generation” (Steve Dollar, Time Out Chicago), “a strong cornetist and serious-minded composer with experimental tendencies” (Nate Chinen, New York Times) and “an agile and creative improviser who sounds like no one but himself” (Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes).  Jazzwise reviewer Kevin Le Gendre adds, “Bynum is thinking outside of the jazz box without getting trapped inside another in the process.”

Bynum’s expansive resume includes a wide variety of work with both his contemporaries and legendary figures alike, most notably the iconic saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, with whom he has performed and recorded extensively over the past decade.  Along with The Middle Picture, his most recent releases as a bandleader include True Events (482 Music, 2007), a recording of cornet/percussion duets with Tomas Fujiwara that veteran jazz writers Howard Mandel, Brian Morton and K. Leander Williams, among others, included on their top 10 lists for the year.  In addition to leading his own bands, Bynum is a member of such groups as Jason Kao Hwang’s Edge and the large ensembles of Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor.  He is also a curator for the annual Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) in New York and a partner in New Haven’s Firehouse 12 Records label.  Learn more at http://www.taylorhobynum.com


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