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Fefer, Avram Quartet (w/ Marc Ribot / Eric Revis / Chad Taylor): Testament (Clean Feed)

For this album saxophonist Avram Fefer opened up his working unit by adding legendary Marc Ribot on guitar, expanding the sound of the trio with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Chad Taylor, while digging deep into North African inspired spiritual hymns with beatiful melodies, many taken from some of his previous trio records but adding new shape and sonic explorations.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Avram Fefer-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone

Marc Ribot-guitar

Eric Revis-bass

Chad Taylor-drums


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UPC: 5609063005370

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF537
Squidco Product Code: 28348

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Figure 8 Recording, in Brooklyn, New York, on December 17th, 2018, by Eli Crews.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Avram Fefer's new Clean Feed release, Testament, is the kind of project that excites and entices even on paper. First there's Fefer, the saxophonist and composer who has been an important contributor to the adventurous New York scene for the past quarter-century, and whose collaborators have included Bobby Few, Archie Shepp, the Last Poets, Sunny Murray, Tony Allen, Reggie Washington, Roy Campbell and many others.

Joining him are two of his closest and longest-running comrades, who are also among the finest improvising musicians of their generation: Eric Revis, the powerhouse bassist whose experience boasts both the far reaches of the avant-garde and his veteran role as the anchor of the Branford Marsalis Quartet; and drummer Chad Taylor, a co-founder of the Chicago Underground ensembles and the percussive choice for visionaries like Pharoah Sanders, Peter Brötzmann and Marc Ribot.

Marc Ribot-the Downtown guitar stalwart and a coup for everyone from John Zorn to Tom Waits, Robert Plant and Elvis Costello-could properly be called Testament's X factor. Following two acclaimed trio projects featuring Revis and Taylor, 2011's Eliyahu and 2009's Ritual, Fefer was interested to hear how Ribot's inimitable presence might inform his unit's telepathic, spiritually-informed chemistry, and how the guitarist might interpret the leader's explorative yet groove-conscious original music.

As Testament's eight tracks prove-most of them previously recorded compositions made anew-Ribot simultaneously preserves the intimacy the group developed over many years and urges their rapport toward enthralling new thresholds. Fefer's gambit worked so well, in fact, that it caused the clearly emotional and poetic improviser to crack up. The results, Fefer explains, were "so sensitive, dynamic and compelling that I couldn't help laughing out loud as I listened back to some of the tracks during the mixing process."

Fefer speaks about these musicians with fervor, and traces his relationships with them back to the heady New York avant-jazz scene of the mid-to-late-1990s, when venues like the Knitting Factory, Tonic and the First Street Café fostered a still-unsung era of sonic travelers. At that time, Fefer was still finding his footing in New York, cutting his teeth with small groups and in the city's most progressive big bands. After earning a liberal arts degree from Harvard and studying music at Berklee and New England Conservatory, he'd spent the first half of the '90s in Paris, helming a high-profile acid-jazz band signed to a major label.

Ribot, with whom the saxophonist had played and crossed paths but never recorded, touts "a kind of roughness that attracted me right away," Fefer says, adding "Marc was just really generous with his spirit, and really honed in on the subtleties of the music." Revis' robust artistry, Fefer says, is like "the trunk of a tree, basically. Each sound that he plays is like the trunk, and you can hang on the branches and pull in all sorts of directions."

When the saxophonist and Revis met in 1996, the bassist was a rising star already under the employ of jazz legends. By contrast, Fefer's early years in New York weren't easy. The transition from the artistic lifestyle and recognition of Paris to the competitiveness of New York proved difficult, so the bassist's enthusiasm for Fefer's music provided the saxophonist with a kind of spiritual salve and a vote of confidence. They held down a two-year residency at the Knitting Factory together, culminating in Fefer's acclaimed leader debut, "Calling All Spirits."

Taylor "is really rooted in Africa, in his approach to sound and drumming" says Fefer, whose own aesthetic emerges from a motherland musical diaspora that includes funk, R&B, traditional African styles and more. "He gets these inner-grooves that just really make me dance." As for the leader, Fefer "has a forceful, astringent sound on alto and a robustly husky voice on tenor," as the New York Times once commented in a live review, with a particular gift for generating an ensemble dynamic that can feel, as the paper of record put it, "nakedly direct." His original music on Testament is filled with off-kilter rhythms made natural and flowing, as well as writing informed by profound personal stories. "Wishful Thinking," for example, was written around the time of his father's sudden passing. "He was a huge figure in my life," Fefer says. "He was born in a labor camp in Siberia, yet he went on to be part of a Nobel Prize-winning cancer research team in America."

"At the time we were working on this album," he continues, "'Wishful Thinking' meant that I hoped he would have been around to hear it." Other highlights include "Dean St. Hustle," whose title and sound evoke Sonny Rollins' The Bridge and Fefer's move to Brooklyn from his beloved Lower East Side; and "Testament," an homage to the invaluable hours Fefer spent playing, talking and breaking bread with Ornette Coleman at the maestro's loft. "This piece reflects the integration of my deep African-American musical influences and my Semitic background, both of which come out of a long history of persecution, survival, renewal, triumph and transcendence," he explains.

In the end, Fefer's new project is, in essence, autobiography-a poetic document of a brilliantly open and receptive artist at this particular juncture in his ongoing musical quest. Says Fefer: "Testament is just what it says-a statement about how I feel, who I am, what I want to play and who I want to play it with. It is a musical reflection of my spirit, my values and the life I've led thus far." "-Clean Feed Records


Artist Biographies

"Avram Fefer is a New York-based composer, improviser, bandleader, teacher and player of multiple woodwinds. He has recorded thirteen albums as a leader, many more as a sideman, and has performed in clubs and festivals throughout Europe, Japan, Africa, and the Middle East. He has performed with legends like Archie Shepp, Bobby Few, the Last Poets, and the David Murray Big Band and in renowned off-Broadway productions such as Ivo Van Hove's "Streetcar Named Desire" and Melvin Van Peebles' "Sweet Sweetback's Badassss Song".

His own bands have included modern jazz greats like Marc Ribot, Eric Revis, Michael Bisio, Chad Taylor, Reggie Nicholson, Ben Allison, Michael Wimberly and Roy Campbell. He also plays regularly with his jazztronica band Rivers on Mars and his jazz-funk band Big Picture Holiday, as well as Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar Arkestra and Adam Rudolph's Go:Organic Orchestra.

He is actively involved in ensembles comprised of anywhere from two to thirty musicians, playing music that ranges from classic and avant-garde jazz to funk, fusion, conducted orchestral music, and a variety of Indian, Arabic, and African music.

If there is a degree of freedom and self-expression in it, he will play it.

Over the years, Avram has also enjoyed a variety of inter-disciplinary collaborations --- with painters, poets, dancers, and sound designers. In 2012 he initiated the Resonant Sculpture Project, a unique international series of solo musical interactions with the large-scale works of legendary sculptor Richard Serra.

In addition to performing, Avram believes deeply in the role of arts education and maintains a thriving private teaching practice in downtown Brooklyn."

-Avram Fefer Website (http://www.avramfefer.com/about)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Marc Ribot (pronounced REE-bow) was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954. As a teen, he played guitar in various garage bands while studying with his mentor, Haitian classical guitarist and composer Frantz Casseus. After moving to New York City in 1978, Ribot was a member of the soul/punk Realtones, and from 1984 - 1989, of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards. Between 1979 and 1985, Ribot also worked as a side musician with Brother Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Berry, and many others.

Rolling Stone points out that "Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985's "Rain Dogs", and since then he's become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp." Additional recording credits include Soloman Burke, Neko Case, Diana Krall, Beth Orton, Marianne Faithful, Arto Lindsay, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, Susana Baca, McCoy Tyner, The Jazz Passengers, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Cibo Matto, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, James Carter, Vinicio Capposella (Italy), Auktyon (Russia), Vinicius Cantuaria, Sierra Maestra (Cuba), Alain Bashung (France), Marisa Monte, Allen Ginsburg, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam Phillips, and more recently Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Norah Jones, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, Jeff Bridges, Jolie Holland, Elton John/Leon Russell and many others. Ribot frequently collaborates with producer T Bone Burnett, most notably on Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's Grammy Award winning "Raising Sand" and regularly works with composer John Zorn.

Marc has released over 20 albums under his own name over a 35-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler with his group "Spiritual Unity" (Pi Recordings), to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez with two critically acclaimed releases on Atlantic Records under "Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos". His avant power trio/post-rock band, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog (Pi Recordings), continues the lineage of his earlier experimental no-wave/punk/noise groups Rootless Cosmopolitans (Island Antilles) and Shrek (Tzadik). Marc's solo recordings include "Marc Ribot Plays The Complete Works of Frantz Casseus" (Les Disques Du Crepuscule), "John Zorn's The Book of Heads" (Tzadik), "Don't Blame Me" (DIW), "Saints" (Atlantic), "Exercises in Futility" (Tzadik), and his latest "Silent Movies" released in 2010 on Pi Recordings was described as a "down-in-mouth-near master piece" by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board. 2013 saw the release of "Your Turn" (Northern Spy), the sophomore effort from Ribot's post-rock/noise trio Ceramic Dog, and 2014 saw the monumental release: "Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard" (Pi Recordings), documenting Marc's first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 already included on Best of 2014 lists including Downbeat Magazine and NPR's 50 Favorites.

Marc has performed on scores such as "The Kids Are All Right," "Where the Wild Things Are," "Walk The Line (Mangold)," "Everything is Illuminated," and "The Departed" (Scorcese)." Marc has also composed original scores including the French film Gare du Nord (Simon), the PBS documentary "Revolucion: Cinco Miradas," the film "Drunkboat," starring John Malkovich and John Goodman, a documentary film by Greg Feldman titled "Joe Schmoe," a feature film by director Joe Brewster titled "The Killing Zone", and dance pieces "In as Much as Life is Borrowed", by famed Belgian choreographer, Wim Vandekeybus, and Yoshiko Chuma's "Altogether Different". Marc is also currently touring his live solo guitar score to Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid", which was commissioned by the NY Guitar Festival and premiered Jan 2010 at Merkin Hall, as well as a program of new arrangements of classic Film Noir scores commissioned by the New School Noir Arts Festival 2011.

In 2009, Marc was named curator and musical director for the year's Century of Song Festival, part of the Ruhr Triennale in Germany. The concert series sparked new collaborations with Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, master cajón player Juan Medrano Cotito, Carla Bozulich and Tine Kindermann.

Marc's talents have also been showcased with a full symphony orchestra. Composer Stewart Wallace wrote a guitar concerto with orchestra specifically for Marc. The piece was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC in July of 2004 and also appeared at The Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, CA in August of 2005.

Marc is currently touring with several projects including the Marc Ribot Trio, a free jazz group featuring legendary bassist Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor on drums, his power trio Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, the Philly soul meets the harmolodics of Ornette Coleman's The Young Philadelphians with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston, and with Caged Funk, a project of funk arrangements of John Cage's music featuring Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic fame."

-Marc Ribot Website (http://marcribot.com/bio)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"One of the most talented and accomplished musicians of his generation, Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Eric Revis has, over the past 15 years, become an important voice in jazz. Branford Marsalis states, "Eric's sound is the sound of doom; big, thick, percussive." Scores of musicians across various disciplines agree. Revis has performed and recorded with Betty Carter, Peter Brotzmann, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Steve Coleman, Ralph Peterson, Lionel Hampton, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Cyrille, and Tarbaby (the experimental trio he tri-leads with Orrin Evans and Nasheet Waits).

Manning the bass chair with Branford Marsalis' powerfully flexible quartet since 1997, Revis has also recorded four brilliant albums as a leader. 2004's Tales of the Stuttering Mime and 2009's Laughter's Necklace of Tears have both revealed his startling range as a musician and composer. Informed by his past but not tethered to it, a glimpse into the musical trajectory of this artist is indelibly clear on his latest release Parallax (Clean Feed ) and the soon to be released City of Asylum (Clean Feed).

"Tales of the Stuttering Mime was an amalgam of songs I'd been composing for quite some time," Revis explains. "Being that there were a lot of different influences at play, it required that I use various band configurations on almost every tune, which was great in that I had a very real connection to all of the musicians involved." With Laughter's Necklace of Tears the same conceptual construct was in place in terms of the confluence of musical influences, but the goal was to present it in a more cohesive fashion in terms of having one group navigate the songs for the record as opposed to five or six".

Conceptually improvisational and thematically broad, Parallax (Clean Feed) is timeless and borderless. The albums' approach is one of inclusion, extrapolation and exploration. Joined by Jason Moran, Ken Vandermark and Nasheet Waits, it is a true document of Revis' growth as a composer, bassist and sounding board. As on previous recordings, Revis' playing is personal and distinctive: his tone deep and woody, his execution, agile, melodic and clear. A musical polyglot, Revis is comfortable in any setting, any direction. His skills as a band leader and composer are equally profound and inspiring."

-Eric Revis Website (https://ericrevis.com/about/bio/)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Chad Taylor (b. 1973) is a composer, educator, percussionist and scholar who is a co-founder of the Chicago Underground ensembles. Originally from Tempe, AZ, Chad grew up in Chicago where he started performing professionally at the age of 16. Chad has performed with Fred Anderson, Derek Bailey, Cooper-Moore, Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot, Peter Brotzmann, Malachi Favors and many others. Chad leads his own band Circle down which debut recording was given a 5 star review by All music:

"What is remarkable is that there is no wasted motion, no histrionics or grandstanding, as pure emotion is translated to superlative music making on this most highly recommended recording, one for the ages." Allmusic.com

Chad has a BFA from the New School in Jazz Performance and a MFA in Jazz Research and History from Rutgers University."

-Chad Taylor Website (http://www.chadtaylordrums.net/html/about.php)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Dean St. Hustle 4:24

2. African Interlude 9:07

3. Testament 8:00

4. Song For Dyani 4:07

5. Magic Mountain 10:55

6. Wishful Thinking 9:11

7. Parable 5:22

8. Essaouira 10:16

Related Categories of Interest:

Clean Feed

Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Ribot, Marc
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