Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings At Jazz Gallery Tomorrow

September 18, 2009

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Tomorrow night, cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum and his improvising chamber ensemble, SpiderMonkey Strings, will celebrate the release of their second recording, Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), with a two-set performance at New York’s Jazz Gallery.

The centerpiece of the record is Bynum’s six-movement title suite—what he calls a secular oratorio—based on his sister’s novel, Madeleine is Sleeping (Harcourt). It also features his distinctive arrangements of music by Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra that corresponds with the recording’s central theme of “the logic of dreams.”

This is the most recent in a string of well-received recordings featuring Bynum as a leader/co-leader that includes 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).

Created seven years ago, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings currently features Kyoko Kitamura (voice), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba) and Luther Gray (drums).


More Best Of 2009 So Far Lists

August 5, 2009

Despite the fact that we’re already in the first week of August (the eighth month on the calendar for those of you scoring at home), the best-of lists for the first half of the year continue to trickle in.

This has been a pretty popular new trend this year, especially with bloggers, and late or no we’re not complaining, especially when our clients are still appearing on them.

And none of our clients has been found quite so list-worthy as Darcy James Argue, whose May debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam), continues to capture the hearts and minds of critics everywhere.

That includes both the Ottawa Citizen‘s Peter Hum and Village Voice and DownBeat contributor Jim Macnie, who also chose John Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12), the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet’s Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY) and the Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet’s Ancestors (Playscape Recordings) among his favorites, though technically the last two actually came out in 2008.

As always, we thank all our media contacts for their ongoing support of independent creative improvised music.


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 Sextet In Finland, Germany And Switzerland

June 4, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum‘s sextet, featuring Matt Bauder (tenor saxophone), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Evan O’Reilly (guitar), Nate McBride (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), will be in Europe this weekend for three dates in three countries.

06/05: Taktlos Festival (Zurich, Switzerland)
06/06: Kerava Jazz Festival (Kerava, Finland)
06/08: Stadtgardten (Cologne, Germany)

The band is celebrating its recently released second CD, Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY).


BBC 3’s Jazz on 3 Presents the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet Live at Vision Festival XIII

November 11, 2008

This week’s episode of Jazz on 3, which first aired in the UK on Monday night, features the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet‘s set from Vision Festival XIII in New York this past June.  

The group, which features Matt Bauder (tenor saxophone and bass clarinet), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Evan O’Reilly (guitar), Jessica Pavone (violin and bass guitar) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), just released its second CD, Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY 675).

The show also features an interview with Bynum done in New York by the New York Times‘ Nate Chinen. Streaming audio of the entire program is available through next Monday.