Firehouse 12 To Present The Daniel Levin Trio December 18th

November 18, 2009

Photo by Rossetti©Phocus

On Friday, December 18th, Firehouse 12‘s fifth anniversary Fall Jazz Series will conclude with a two-set performance by the Daniel Levin Trio. Led by cellist/composer Daniel Levin, a veteran of the New Haven music scene making his sixth appearance at Firehouse 12, the two year-old group features Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Chicago-based drummer Frank Rosaly, who replaced Gerald Cleaver following the band’s 2008 debut recording, Fuhuffah (Clean Feed). This performance, which will be recorded for possible future release, will be the fourth and final event in the band’s December tour.

An imaginative variation on the traditional sax-bass-drums trio, the Daniel Levin Trio creatively explores the intersection of free jazz and chamber music. As it has matured, and gained experience finding its own sound, it has also incorporated elements from folk music and other genres. “A vibrant and assertive detour from his usual chamber oriented quartet offerings,” writes, “Fuhuffah offers another facet of Levin’s growing abilities as an improviser and writer of note.”’s Bill Meyer adds, “Levin’s playing is as elegant and eloquent realizing the contours of an old folk tune as it is engaging the rest of the trio in splintered, freeform exchange. The sound may be different, but Fuhuffah reveals the consistency of Levin’s concerns as a player and a shaper of group sound.”

Levin, a native of Burlington, Vermont, began playing cello at age six, and focused exclusively on classical music until the chance to improvise with a dancer at a festival when he was 19 put him on the path to writing and improvising his own music. Now 35, and based in New York, he has created a body of work that features collaborations with Anthony Braxton, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris, William Parker and Ken Vandermark among many others. In addition to his trio, and membership in groups such as the Rob Brown Trio, Levin leads a longstanding quartet that has recorded four titles since 2003, including his latest, Live At Roulette (Clean Feed). Learn more at

2009 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/18 :: Brandon Ross & Blazing Beauty
09/25 :: Matt Wilson Quartet
10/02 :: Mauger: Rudresh Mahanthappa/Mark Dresser/Gerry Hemingway
10/09 :: Steve Lehman Trio
10/16 :: Gretchen Parlato Band
10/23 :: Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre
10/30 :: Taylor Eigsti Trio
11/06 :: ODE: Larry Ochs/Trevor Dunn/Lisle Ellis/Michael Sarin
11/13 :: The Peter Evans Quartet
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio
12/04 :: Mary Halvorson Quintet
12/11 :: Amy Cervini Quartet
12/18 :: Daniel Levin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:

Firehouse 12 To Present The Flatlands Collective This Friday

December 1, 2008

On Friday, December 5th, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present the penultimate event of its 2008 Fall Jazz Series, a two-set performance by The Flatlands Collective.  The group, which is touring the Northeast in December in support of its new CD, Maatjes (Clean Feed Records), pairs Dutch-born saxophonist/composer Jorrit Dijkstra with five of the most respected names from the eclectic Chicago creative music scene, James Falzone (clarinet), Jeb Bishop (trombone), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello and analog electronics), Jason Roebke (bass) and Frank Rosaly (drums). 

Critics have called the band’s music “infectious” (David Kane, Cadence) and “the perfect fusion of composition and improvisation” (Will Stewart, Ann Arbor News), noting its combination of “the intellectual firepower of the Dutch free-jazz scene with the instrumental virtuosity of some of Chicago’s most accomplished creative improvisers” (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune).  “Dijkstra hears the stylistic diversity within the networks that link his cohorts, and gives it space not just to breathe, but also occasionally to snort, howl and laugh riotously,” writes DownBeat‘s Bill Shoemaker. “The music has a discernible Dutch tinge, which is alternately audacious and austere.” 

The Flatlands Collective takes its name from the geographic characteristic shared by both Chicago and Dijkstra’s hometown of Amsterdam, but Time Out Chicago argues, “In truth, the music of this group is as dynamic as downtown San Francisco, with bustling melodies and grooves built of rangy swing and dub-inspired meditations.”  The ensemble works within the framework of Dijkstra’s eclectic compositions, with the musicians’ improvisations blending Chicago-style free jazz, texture-based minimalism and melodic layering to create a distinctive sound that is further defined by Dijkstra’s lyricon (a vintage analog synthesizer) and Lonberg-Holm’s amplified cello.  Maatjes is the follow-up to the band’s 2006 debut, Gnomade (Skycap Records).  

2008 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/19: Steve Lantner Trio
09/26: Conference Call  
10/03: Ned Rothenberg’s Sync
10/10: Shakers n’ Bakers   
10/17: Josh Roseman’s Execution Quintet
10/24: Bad Touch
10/31: Magic
11/07: George Schuller’s Circle Wide
11/14: Jamie Baum Septet
11/21: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
12/05: The Flatlands Collective
12/12: Donny McCaslin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:

Taylor Ho Bynum Tour Moves to Boston Sunday Night

November 15, 2008

Sunday, November 16th at 3:00 p.m.
Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
Hammond Performing Arts Series
The Boston Center for the Arts (BCA)
539 Tremont Street in Boston, MA (South End)
MBTA: Green Line (Copley); Orange Line (Back Bay); Bus #43

Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet; Kyoko Kitamura, voice and electronics; Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Jessica Pavone, viola; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Pete Fitzpatrick, guitar; Joseph Daley, tuba; Luther Gray, drums

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum will follow-up his two-night stand at New York’s Jazz Gallery with a free Sunday afternoon concert at the Boston Center for the Arts featuring his improvising chamber ensemble, SpiderMonkey Strings.

The group will be presenting the Boston premiere of Bynum’s innovative secular oratorio, Madeleine Dreams, which it will record at the end of the tour for its forthcoming 2009 release on Firehouse 12 Records.

Inspired by the novel Madeleine is Sleeping (Harcourt), a 2004 National Book Award finalist written by Bynum’s sister, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, the piece draws text from the book while further exploring its theme of the logic of dreams, a recurring thread in Bynum’s work as a composer.

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’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

Mili Bermejo/Eugene Friesen Quartet To Make its Debut at Berklee November 20th

November 6, 2008