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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KLANG’s Midwest CD Release Tour Begins November 17th

October 20, 2009
Photo by David Sampson

Photo by David Sampson

On Tuesday, November 17th, clarinetist/composer James Falzone and his Chicago-based quartet KLANG will embark on a six-date Midwest tour in support of their acclaimed debut CD, Tea Music (Allos Documents). The group, which also features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy, will open the tour in Lexington, Kentucky and work its way back through Ohio and Wisconsin to the tour-ending hometown gig at The Hungry Brain.

Tour Itinerary:

11/17 :: Al’s Bar (Lexington, KY)
11/18 :: Thomas More College (Covington, KY)
11/19 :: Bela Dubby (Cleveland, OH)
11/20 :: Robinwood Concert House (Toledo, OH)
11/21 :: The Sugar Maple (Milwaukee, WI)
11/22 :: The Hungry Brain (Chicago, IL)

Critics have called Tea Music “excellent” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader) and “possibly the best jazz CD I’ve heard this year” (François Couture, Monsieur Délire), while also noting the “thoughtful and stylish music” (Ben Ratliff, New York Times) and “bold playing, smart compositions and empathetic group interactions” (Glen Hall, Exclaim!).

“The music, written by different players, is sly and smart, centered on composition and cleverly precise,” writes AllAboutJazz.com’s Mark Corroto. “Their collective approach to improvisation is passionate and sharp; Falzone’s orderly clarinet and Adasiewicz’s crisp vibraphone travel to another plane. It’s an extraordinary recording from an outstanding quartet.”

Dusted‘s Marc Medwin adds, “While it has some of the hip lightness associated with many genre-busting acts hailing from [Chicago], coolness of approach is tempered by deep compositional concerns. The musicianship itself is first-rate, the group able to stop on a dime throughout. The players’ performances blend to give the band a unique voice, one rooted in swing and cool but cognizant of all events transpiring since.”


Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day Out Today

October 6, 2009


Drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt‘s latest release, Canada Day (Clean Feed), officially hits the streets today.

The record, the Toronto native’s eighth as a bandleader, is the debut of his primary working ensemble, also called Canada Day, featuring Nate Wooley (trumpet), Matt Bauder (tenor saxophone), Chris Dingman (vibraphone) and Eivind Opsvik (bass).

It documents his original book of music for the group, which was written for the specific musical personalities of these musicians and developed in live performances in New York and beyond over the past three years.

“The material on the group’s self-titled album is as exciting as it is diverse,” declares Dusted‘s Marc Medwin, “with any clichés about group telepathy sounding entirely appropriate. Precision and spontaneity make every gesture simultaneously soloistic and supportive as the structures wend their complex but catchy ways forward. He’s the lynchpin of an exciting aggregate.”

“Drawing upon some of the best new talent in the Brooklyn scene,” explains AllAboutJazz.com’s Troy Collins, “Eisenstadt’s formidable quintet is as capable of adventurous timbral explorations as they are of in-the-pocket swing. Blending a mid-’60s Blue Note vibe with elastic post-rock grooves and subtle West African influences, Eisenstadt successfully unites his assorted interests into a cohesive ensemble sound. An accessible blend of inside and outside traditions delivered by an empathetic young ensemble, Canada Day is a welcome addition to the burgeoning discography of one of the new generation’s leading composers.”

AllMusic.com’s Michael G. Nastos adds, “A composer of great depth and diversity, Eisenstadt proves a fine trap drummer for this recording, and a formidable bandleader who deserves more recognition in both areas. The cohesion of the ensemble, glued by the steady, steaming, streaming rhythms of Eisenstadt, keeps the listener focused and compelled to hear more…this is a strong candidate for Top Ten status in the category of best jazz CDs of 2009.”

You can learn more about Eisenstadt, Canada Day, and his many other projects in a new interview by Clifford Allen posted yesterday at AllAboutJazz.com

And, the band will be celebrating its new release with Northeast tour dates in New York, Toronto, Buffalo and Rochester starting October 24th. Details are available here.


James Falzone’s KLANG At The Hideout Tomorrow Night

September 22, 2009

On Wednesday, September 23rd, clarinetist/composer James Falzone‘s three year-old working quartet KLANG will celebrate the release of its debut studio recording, Tea Music (Allos Documents), with a hometown performance at The Hideout in Chicago.

The band, which delivered a “particularly moving” (Aaron Cohen, DownBeat.com) tribute to Benny Goodman at the Chicago Jazz Festival earlier this month, features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy.

Together they pick up the Swing Era thread of pairing clarinet and vibes, while also exploring a collective interest in the innovative sounds of Jimmy Giuffre’s early small groups of the mid-1950’s.

“The music, written by different players, is sly and smart, centered on composition and cleverly precise,” writes AllAboutJazz.com’s Mark Corroto. “Their collective approach to improvisation is passionate and sharp; Falzone’s orderly clarinet and Adasiewicz’s crisp vibraphone travel to another plane. It’s an extraordinary recording from an outstanding quartet.”

Critics have also called Tea Music “thoughtful and stylish music” (Ben Ratliff, New York Times) and “possibly the best jazz CD I’ve heard this year” (François Couture, Monsieur Delire), noting the “bold playing, smart compositions and empathetic group interactions” (Glen Hall, Exclaim.ca).

Dusted‘s Marc Medwin adds, “The players’ performances blend to give the band a unique voice, one rooted in swing and cool but cognizant of all events transpiring since.”

Learn more at http://allosmusica.org


KLANG’s Tea Music Released Today

August 25, 2009

Today is the official street date for Tea Music (Allos Documents), the debut studio recording from the Chicago-based quartet, KLANG.

“While it has some of the hip lightness associated with many genre-busting acts hailing from that city,” writes Dusted‘s Marc Medwin, “coolness of approach is tempered by deep compositional concerns. The musicianship itself is first-rate, the group able to stop on a dime throughout. The players’ performances blend to give the band a unique voice, one rooted in swing and cool but cognizant of all events transpiring since.”

The three year-old group, featuring clarinetist James Falzone, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy, picks up the swing era thread of pairing clarinet and vibes, while also exploring its collective interest in the innovative sounds of Jimmy Giuffre‘s early small groups of the mid-1950’s.

“The music, written by different players, is sly and smart, centered on composition and cleverly precise,” declares AllAboutJazz.com’s Mark Corroto. “Their collective approach to improvisation is passionate and sharp; Falzone’s orderly clarinet and Adasiewicz’s crisp vibraphone travel to another plane. It’s an extraordinary recording from an outstanding quartet.”

KLANG has a busy fall schedule of performances in Chicago and beyond.

Before officially celebrating its new record at The Hideout on September 23rd, the group will help celebrate the Benny Goodman centennial at the Chicago Jazz Festival on September 6th, as well as at preview events around the city in late August.

In November, the band will embark on a Midwest tour culminating in a hometown performance at The Hungry Brain on November 22nd.

Check out the band’s complete itinerary here.


More Reviews For KLANG’s Tea Music

August 20, 2009

Tea Music (Allos Documents), the studio debut from the Chicago-based quartet, KLANG, continues to collect positive reviews leading up to its August 25th release.

The group, led by clarinetist/composer James Falzone, features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy.

Together Falzone and Adasiewicz form a dynamic front-line, recalling the ebullience of Goodman and Hampton, the introspection of Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley, and Eric Dolphy and Bobby Hutcherson’s spiky interplay.
A limber rhythm section, Roebke and Daisy drive the ensemble with quicksilver shifts in mood and tone. Brisk and economical, they underscore the delicate tonality of Falzone’s woody clarinet and Adasiewicz’s shimmering, metallic vibes with supple nuance and elastic timing. An adventurous yet accessible effort from the Windy City’s finest young improvisers, Tea Music is another compelling album in a long line of stellar releases documenting the new Chicago scene.

“Together Falzone and Adasiewicz form a dynamic front-line,” writes AllAboutJazz.com’s Troy Collins, “recalling the ebullience of Goodman and Hampton, the introspection of Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley, and Eric Dolphy and Bobby Hutcherson’s spiky interplay. A limber rhythm section, Roebke and Daisy drive the ensemble with quicksilver shifts in mood and tone…they underscore the delicate tonality of Falzone’s woody clarinet and Adasiewicz’s shimmering, metallic vibes with supple nuance and elastic timing.”

Dusted‘s Marc Medwin adds, “The musicianship itself is first-rate, the group able to stop on a dime throughout. The players’ performances blend to give the band a unique voice, one rooted in swing and cool but cognizant of all events transpiring since.”

Finally, in a post on his blog, Monsieur Délire, earlier this week, François Couture declared, “Oh, what a nice jazz record, possibly the best jazz CD I’ve heard this year. Clarinetist James Falzone had seduced me in 2006 with his The Sign and the Thing Signified. This album by his quartet KLANG hits me right on the pleasure bone again.”


The Fully Celebrated Reviewed In AAJ-NY, Dusted

June 1, 2009


The Fully Celebrated’s AUM Fidelity debut, Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones, continues to garner positive reviews.

For their latest recording, Boston’s The Fully Celebrated have dropped the orchestral tag from their name, but retain their wide ranging eclecticism, all transmuted through a jazz prism. A shared history in roots reggae bears fruit on the title track but Hobbs and Shanko have also plumbed the further reaches of free jazz and their facility across a range of styles is in evidence throughout this disc…an irreverant ride.

“For their latest recording,” writes AllAboutJazz-New York‘s John Sharpe, “Boston’s The Fully Celebrated have dropped the orchestral tag from their name, but retain their wide ranging eclecticism, all transmuted through a jazz prism. A shared history in roots reggae bears fruit on the title track, but Hobbs and Shanko have also plumbed the further reaches of free jazz and their facility across a range of styles is in evidence throughout this disc…an irreverant ride.”

Dusted’s Marc Medwin adds, “Now pared down to a trio, the group has more space to open up and stretch out on these fascinating new compositions, and they rise to the occasion. Whatever effects are employed (and they vary throughout the disc), the playing is tight and the groove-based tracks boast creativity from all involved. This trio has crafted a disc full of power and intrigue on every level.”