Oboist & english horn player Kyle Bruckmann brought together this Chicaco group with Tim Daisy (drums), Jeb Bishop (trombone), Kurt Johnson (bass) and Jen Clare Paulson (viola) to integrate non-traditional instruments in the ever-evolving intersection of modern jazz.
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Label: Red Toucan
Catalog ID: RT 9323
Squidco Product Code: 11072
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded on May 31st & June 1st, 2003 at Acme Recording, Chicago by Devin Davis.
Kylr Bruckmann-oboe, English horn
Jen Clare Paulson-viola
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1. Rather Dour 6:17
2. Elegy For A Boiled Frog 11:23
3. Extenuating Circumstances 11:10
4. Sins Of Ommission 6:15
5. Mitigating Factors 13:04
6. Gearshifts & Parentheticals 9:05
7. Lonely Woman 3:47
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
sample the album:
"This music is an attempt to create space for my voice and my instrument within an ever-evolving tradition that hovers at the crossroads of other traditions. The intersection of jazz with what we'll call (for lack of a better term) European art music is by no means a new story - I make no claim to any shocking innovations. At best, I've succeeded in resolving some aesthetic issues in my own musical life. My background is essentially that of a classically trained oboist gradually awakening to the joys of improvisation. Though I have a deep respect for and love of the jazz tradition, it barely factors into my history as a player. Sporadic attempts to operate in that field have left me feeling dissatisfied and a little sheepish. Delving more deeply into "free improvisation" has proved to better suit my instrument and my temperament. But as my improvising has spiraled deeper into explorations of textural abstraction and quiet noise, I've come to feel I've been neglecting other, perhaps more conventional parameters of music: melody, harmony, counterpoint (as my teacher Ed Sarath would say, I wasn't getting enough "vitamin M"). The other primary outlet for my compositional energies, the experimental punk band Lozenge, is largely devoted to polyrhythmic propulsion and campy extremism; while there are certainly plenty of notes flying around, there's not much room for slow motion, subtlety, introspection, melancholy.
That's where Wrack comes in. At their most laissez-faire, these pieces are tributes to four colleagues whose playing I adore: structures that enable me to finagle my friends into improvising together in certain combinations at certain times. But where they are more determinate, the tunes are devised as an excuse to indulge my lyrical side. In my search for coherent contexts that permit a focus on pitch content, I found myself returning again and again to the language of classical modernism. The music of Bartok, Stravinsky, Messaien, and Webern lies very close to my heart, and forms the foundation of my understanding and enjoyment of how notes relate to each other in close proximity. The angularity and pungent clashes pilfered from these models will be readily apparent. More important than the referents themselves, of course, is the function they serve as springboards for some truly inspired playing."-Kyle Bruckman, from the liner notes
"How unique is the oboe in jazz and free improvisation? Pretty unique, both in terms of its distinct and idiosyncratic sonorities and in terms of the tiny number of people playing it. Chicago's Bruckmann is one of the leading practitioners of the difficult double-reed instrument, and on this recent release from the splendid Red Toucan imprint he demonstrates his chops as both improviser and composer.
For a highly unusual instrumentation - the leader on oboe and English horn, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Tim Daisy on percussion, Kurt Johnson on bass (who is in the experimental punk band Lozenge along with Bruckmann), and Jen Clare Paulson on viola - Bruckmann has constructed a half dozen tunes (plus a brief, plucky reharmonized version of Ornette's "Lonely Woman") which combine two seemingly improbable approaches: the post-Vandermark Chicagoan tendency to lace together shifting rhythmic bases and free sections, and a decided New Music influence (the classically trained Bruckmann names Bartok, Stravinsky, Messiaen, and Webern as household gods of his, but some reviewers have rightly detected the presence of Feldman and Scelsi) in the granular minimalism of pieces like "Elegy for a Boiled Frog" and "Mitigating Factors." Often as not, the band alternates dour drones with bustling grooves (such as the plangent melody strung across jumpy 7/4 in "Boiled Frog").
Bruckmann's pieces are patient constructs that morph slowly and ask the improvisers (who he's very generous about featuring - just dig the long Bishop/Paulson duet in "Extenuating Circumstances") to build along with the composition rather than blow over or through it. And if the overall mood is - as the opening track title suggests - "Rather Dour," there are more than enough tart improvisational moments and plenty of saucy drumming from Daisy to keep the session vigorous. The cranky, neo-industrial improvisations on "Gearshifts & Parentheticals" testify to that.
One of the finest examples of Wrack's ability to combine turned-up flame with clear-headed attention to texture and space is the brash "Sins of Omission." Bishop tussles with Johnson and Daisy, with energy to spare. But you've got to feel that this band's heart is in the long textural studies like "Mitigating Factors," where the players get to test their extended techniques out even as they work from space and (relative) silence. Daisy, in particular, is a wonder at tuned percussion on this track.
Wrack should be taken seriously, not only as a thoroughly enjoyable album in its own right, but as a document of exciting new directions from some of Chicago's best players. Highly recommended."Jason Bivins, Dusted Reviews
• Show Bio for Jeb Bishop
"Jeb Bishop was born in Raleigh, North Carolina during the Cuban missile crisis. He began playing the trombone at the age of 10, under the tutelage of Cora Grasser. Other influential teachers during junior high and high school included Jeanne Nelson, Eric Carlson, Richard Fecteau, Greg Cox, and James Cozart.
He majored in classical trombone performance at Northwestern University from 1980-82, studying with Frank Crisafulli. Deciding he did not want to pursue a career as an orchestral musician, he returned to Raleigh in 1982 and took up engineering studies at NC State University. Raleigh's developing underground rock scene attracted him, and from 1982-84 he played bass guitar in rock bands in the Raleigh area.
At the same time, he developed an interest in philosophy, eventually majoring in the subject, and spent 1984-85 studying philosophy at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.
Returing to Raleigh in 1985, he spent the next few years working at menial jobs and playing guitar, bass, cheap keyboards, drums, etc., in rock bands including and/or, the Angels of Epistemology, Egg, and Metal Pitcher.
In 1989 he left Raleigh to pursue graduate studies in philosophy, first at the University of Arizona, then at Loyola University of Chicago (where he was awarded the Crown Fellowship in the Humanities). During 1991-92 he returned to Europe, spending the summer of 1991 studying German at the Goethe-Institut Iserlohn (now closed), and then pursuing independent studies in philosophy at the French-language division of the University of Louvain.
Returning to Chicago in 1992, he completed his M.A. at Loyola in 1993. By this time he had already begun to make connections with improvising musicians in Chicago, having joined the Flying Luttenbachers as bassist (later adding trombone) in late 1992, and playing guitar occasionally in a quartet with Weasel Walter, Ken Vandermark, and Kevin Drumm. Other bands during this period included the Unheard Music Quartet (with Vandermark, Mike Hagedorn on trombone, and Otto Huber on drums) and the Rev Trio (with Walter and saxophonist Joe Vajarsky). Bishop played electric bass in both these bands.
In late 1995, Bishop joined the Vandermark 5 as one of its founding members, and remained with the band through the end of 2004. During this period he also became associated with many other groups, including the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, School Days, Ken Vandermark's Territory Band, and his own Jeb Bishop Trio, and became a very frequent participant in ad hoc and free-improvised concerts in Chicago. Bishop performed in the inaugural concerts of two of the longest-running free-music concert series in Chicago: the Myopic Books weekly concerts (originally at Czar Bar; with Rev Trio) and the Empty Bottle Wednesday night concert series (with a quartet of Terri Kapsalis, Kevin Drumm, and Jim O'Rourke). He curated the monthly Chicago Improvisers Group concerts at the Green Mill from 1999-2002, and co-curated the weekly Eight Million Heroes concert series at Sylvie's in 2005-6.
Bishop has made dozens of recordings with many different groups, has toured North America and Europe many times, and maintains a busy performing schedule."-Jeb Bishop Website (http://www.jebbishop.com/jebbio.html)
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• Show Bio for Tim Daisy
"Tim Daisy (percussion) has been an active member of Chicago' s creative music scene since moving there in 1997. He has performed, composed, recorded, and toured with many of the city's celebrated musicians and ensembles, including the Engines, KLANG, the Rempis Percussion Quartet, the Resonance Ensemble, and the Vandermark 5. In addition, Tim maintains an active composing schedule, writing for his own bands (such as Vox Arcana and Group 4-34) as well as contributing music to a number of collaborative projects- including chamber groups, jazz ensembles, dance, and film. He has had the fortunate experience to perform and record with many great improvisers both from around the world, including: Fred Anderson, Jim Baker, Jeb Bishop, Magnus Broo, Xavier Charles, James Falzone, Erik Friedlander, Per-Ake Homlander, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Nate McBride, Joe McPhee, Dave Rempis, Steve Swell, Mikolaj Trzaska, Havard Wiik, Waclaw Zimpel, and Michael Zerang. Besides a regular concert schedule in Chicago, Tim has toured throughout North America and Europe, and has performed at numerous international music festivals."-Ken Vandermark Website (http://kenvandermark.com/2013/10/made-to-break-biography/)
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