Signal To Noise: Taylor Ho Bynum, Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, Darius Jones and Joe Morris

December 14, 2009

The Winter 2010 issue of Signal To Noise arrived this weekend and with it reviews of the latest releases from Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings, the Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, the Darius Jones Trio and the Joe Morris Quartet.

“Bynum’s compositions consistently engage and amplify the texts [from his sister’s novel, Madeleine is Sleeping],” writes Stuart Broomer in his review of Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), “and the performances are at a high level. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura ranges from pensive dramatic readings to jazz-inflected vocals and creative improvisations, performing admirably in the divergent settings. The group’s improvisational skills come to the fore on pieces by three great composers—Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra—whose works are all subtly complementary…the results are driving, focused, expressive performances that make the most of the jazz tradition.”

“After 20 years of musical partnership, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, drummer Harvey Sorgen and trumpeter Herb Robertson have developed a rich chemistry,” declares James Hale. “On Memphis, their 11th recording, the quartet surges with energy—equal parts Stevens’ proclivity for aggresive vamps, Robertson’s slippery slalom runs, and a wrecking crew of a rhythm duo. When the mood turns somber individual members find ways of keeping the tension high, whether its Fonda’s abrasive arco on ‘For My Brother’ or the free segments that alternate with Stevens’ pretty theme on ‘Whale Majesty.'”

“Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bassist Timo Shanko and drummer Django Carranza hammer away at eight slices of groove-based music that is is peppy, incisive and yes, amusing,” explains Jay Collins in his review of Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity). “The Fully Celebrated is a group that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but the music is of high caliber and a hell of a lot of fun.”

Marc Medwin describes the Darius Jones Trio’s debut, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), as “a barn-burner from note one. Jones could not have chosen better musicians to enter into his world, with Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses enhancing every moan, cry and shriek emanating from his alto.”

Jay Collins calls the Joe Morris Quartet’s second release, Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity), “Morris at his most accessible. His tremendous single-note flurries come to bear immediately on the boppish ‘Backbone’ and the exuberantly swinging ‘Imaginary Solutions.’ The quartet’s keen melodic sense is eveident on ‘Ashes’ and the ruminative ‘Animal,’ especially in Hobbs’s earthy, gripping saxophone playing. Hobbs and Morris’s unison lines against the rhythm section’s restless activity are part of the record’s pleasures. Like Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones, Today on Earth has it all: smart compositional structures that launch tasty, unpredictable improvisations.”

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Remembering 2009

November 23, 2009

Image from TheDailyGreen.com
The latest can to be kicked around the jazz blogosphere (and beyond) is what records make the cut as the best of the decade.

As much as we enjoy the opportunity to reminisce about our first seven-plus years in business, and the 135 recordings we promoted for our clients in that span, we’re not quite ready to dip a toe in that nearly bottomless pool just yet.

But, we’re more than happy to shine a light on the recordings we promoted for our clients in 2009 (in order of their release).

Hopefully at least a few of these will end up on your year’s best list or at least your list for Santa.

David S. Ware
Shakti (AUM Fidelity)

Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn
Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity)

The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra
Muse (Creative Nation Music)

Garrison Fewell
Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records)

Michael Musillami Trio + 3
From Seeds (Playscape Recordings)

The Fully Celebrated
Drunk On The Blood Of The Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity)

John Hébert
Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records)

Carl Maguire’s Floriculture
Sided Silver Solid (Firehouse 12 Records)

Joe Morris/Petr Cancura/Luther Gray
Wildlife (AUM Fidelity)

KLANG
Tea Music (Allos Documents)

Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records)

Fay Victor Ensemble
The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

Fonda/Stevens Group
Memphis (Playscape Recordings)

Harris Eisenstadt
Canada Day (Clean Feed)

Darius Jones Trio
Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

Joe Morris Quartet
Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity)

Jessica Pavone
Songs Of Synastry And Solitude (Tzadik)

Bill Dixon
Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records)


Taylor Ho Bynum In October

October 15, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Hot on the heels of the mid-September release of his latest CD, Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum is gearing up for a busy month of performances in New York and abroad.

His upcoming sideman dates include performances with composer/conductor Laura Andel, pianist Lucian Ban, the Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio and a special guest appearance with the Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo in Botticino, Italy.

On October 25th in Boston, he’ll lead the first-ever performance of his new quintet featuring alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, trombonist and tuba player Bill Lowe, bassist John Hébert and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

The next day in New York, a subset of that group, dubbed the Bynum-Hébert-Cleaver Trio, will perform as part of the RUCMA/Vision Performance Series to be followed by a second trio date in Philadelphia on November 2nd and a recording session for the RogueArt label on November 3rd.

Laura Andel: Premieres and New Works for Large Ensemble
10/17 :: Brecht Forum (New York, NY)

Enesco Reimagined
10/20 :: Merkin Hall (New York, NY)

Taylor Ho Bynum Quintet
10/25 :: Boston Center for the Arts (Boston, MA)

Bynum-Hébert-Cleaver Trio
10/26 :: RUCMA @ The Local 269 (New York, NY)
11/02 :: Ars Nova Workshop @ The Rotunda (Philadelphia, PA)

Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo with special guest Taylor Ho Bynum
10/31 :: Botticino Jazz Festival (Botticino, Italy)


New Taylor Ho Bynum CD Released Today

September 15, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum‘s latest recording as a leader, Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), officially hits the streets today.

The second release from his improvising chamber group, SpiderMonkey Strings, the record documents the title suite, a secular oratorio the group has been performing at concerts around the world since early 2008, as well as innovative arrangements of music by Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra.

This seven year-old ensemble features Kyoko Kitamura (voice), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba) and Luther Gray (drums).

Bynum and the group will celebrate with two sets at New York’s Jazz Gallery on Saturday, September 19th.

In his listing for the performance in the Village Voice, Jim Macnie writes, “Whether he’s making cinematic soundscapes for snippets of his sister’s surrealistic novel, or bringing a heavenly tone to such earthy fare as Ellington’s ‘The Mooche,’ the cornet player makes music that places nuance on the top of the priority list. The vocals are fetching and flighty; the repertory choices discerning and deft.”


Previewing Our Clients’ Fall Performances

August 21, 2009
Mary Halvorson Trio by Peter Gannushkin

Mary Halvorson Trio by Peter Gannushkin

Here’s a preview of our clients’ Fall 2009 live dates in support of recent, current or forthcoming recordings.

[Updated 9/12/09]

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society:

09/17 :: New Languages Festival (Brooklyn, NY)
09/18 :: The Jazz Gallery (New York, NY)
10/19 :: Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza @ The Bell House (Brooklyn, NY)
11/25 :: Iridium Jazz Club (New York, NY)

AUM Fidelity:

09/11 :: Joe Morris’ Wildlife @ Outpost 186 (Cambridge, MA)
10/14 :: Joe Morris Quartet @ The Local 269 (New York, NY)
10/15 :: David S. Ware/Darius Jones Trio/William Parker & Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra @ Abrons Arts Center (New York, NY)
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio @ Firehouse 12 (New Haven, CT)

Taylor Ho Bynum:

09/19 :: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings @ The Jazz Gallery (New York, NY)
09/25 :: Positive Catastrophe @ New Languages Festival (Brooklyn, NY)

Creative Nation Music:

09/05 :: Fewell/Hofbauer Duo @ Outpost 186 (Cambridge, MA)
09/23 :: Eric Hofbauer & The Infrared Band @ Cambridge YMCA Theater (Cambridge, MA)
09/30 :: Fewell/Hofbauer Duo @ OM (Cambridge, MA)
10/03 :: Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra @ Outpost 186 (Cambridge, MA)

Harris Eisenstadt & Canada Day:

09/16 :: Clean Feed Fest IV @ Cornelia Connelly Center (New York, NY)
10/24 :: Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
10/25 :: Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
10/27 :: York University (Toronto, ON)
10/27 :: Tranzac (Toronto, ON)
10/28 :: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (Buffalo, NY)
10/29 :: The Bop Shop (Rochester, NY)

James Falzone’s KLANG:

08/30 :: Chicago Jazz Festival preview @ Hungry Brain (Chicago, IL)
08/31 :: Chicago Jazz Festival preview @ Skylark (Chicago, IL)
09/06 :: Chicago Jazz Festival (Chicago, IL)
09/23 :: The Hideout (Chicago, IL)
11/18 :: Thomas Moore College (Covington, KY)
11/19 :: Bela Dubby (Cleveland, OH)
11/20 :: Kerrytown Concert House (Ann Arbor, MI)
11/21 :: The Sugar Maple (Milwaukee, WI)
11/22 :: The Hungry Brain (Chicago, IL)

Firehouse 12 Records:

09/19 :: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings @ The Jazz Gallery (New York, NY)
09/25 :: John Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey @ Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
09/26 :: John Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey @ Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)

Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo:

10/25 :: Studio Odeon (Bruxelles, Belgium)
10/27 :: Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome, Italy)
10/29 :: Vooruit (Gent, Belgium)
10/31 :: Botticino Jazz Festival (Botticino, Italy)

Mary Halvorson Trio:

12/07 :: Cafe Wilhelmina (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
12/08 :: Stadtgarten (Cologne, Germany)
12/09 :: Alter Schl8hof (Wels, Austria)
12/11 :: Jazz Dock (Prague, Czech Republic)
12/13 :: Venue TBA, (Ueberlingen, Germany)
12/14 :: The Vortex Jazz Club (London, England)
12/16 :: Rote Fabrik (Zurich, Switzerland)

Mary Halvorson Quintet:

09/11 :: International House (Philadelphia, PA)
12/02 :: Barbès (Brooklyn, NY)
12/04 :: Firehouse 12 (New Haven, CT)

Jessica Pavone & The Toomai String Quintet:

11/10: Roulette (New York, NY)

Playscape Recordings

10/15 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Bucharest, Romania
10/16 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Sibiu, Romania
10/17 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia
10/19 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Budapest, Hungary
10/20 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Budapest, Hungary
10/21 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Muenster, Germany
10/22 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Katowice, Poland
10/23 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Katowice, Poland
10/24 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Nurnberg, Germany
10/25 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Brussels, Belgium
10/26 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Neustadt, Germany
10/27 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Bergneustadt, Germany
10/28 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Dornbirn, Austria
10/29 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Leverkeusen, Germany
10/30 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Oberengstringen, Switzerland
10/31 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Saignelegier, Switzerland

Fay Victor Ensemble:

10/01 :: Roulette (New York, NY)
10/04 :: The Rotunda (Philadelphia, PA)


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