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A superb octet including pianist and leader Kris Davis providing innovative compositions, with the powerful support of Ben Goldberg, Oscar Noriega, Joachim Badenhorst & Andrew Bishop on reeds, Nate Radley on guitar, Gary Versace on organ, and Jim Black on drums.

Davis, Kris Infrasound (Davis / Goldberg / Noriega / Badenhorst / Bishop / Radley / Versace / Black)
Save Your Breath

Davis, Kris Infrasound (Davis / Goldberg / Noriega / Badenhorst / Bishop / Radley / Versace / Black) (Clean Feed)

Label: Clean Feed    
Released in: Portugal    

"This masterpiece is a major work for Kris Davis and her definititive breakthrough as a major composer in XXI century American music. Grea line up and total dedication from all musicians involved. Soundwise this is also a top recording. If you're following Kris recordings you know that she never repeats herself rather looking for new ways of expression."-Clean Feed

"Introduced on her 2015 Clean Feed album Save Your Breath, Kris Davis' Infrasound octet is a monster of a band capable of delivering a gargantuan punch. Creative jazz pianist/composer Davis is joined here by drummer Jim Black, organist Gary Versace, and electric guitarist Nate Radley, and as if they weren't enough to rattle the windows, peerless clarinetists Ben Goldberg, Oscar Noriega, Joachim Badenhorst, and Andrew Bishop add the deep vibrations of their bass and contrabass instruments to the ensemble. Then, for added oomph, Davis enlisted rock veteran producer Ron Saint Germain (Bad Brains, Sonic Youth, Living Colour) to engineer and mix the session. The album's opening moments display Davis' Infrasound conception at its most acute, as "Union Forever" (aka "Union" on the 2012 album of the same name by Paradoxical Frog) begins with a circular spiraling motif layered in counterpoint; after a brief retreat, the group's phrasing becomes more clipped and knotty, accentuated by Black's powerfully incisive drumwork in bold contrast to the rounded tones of the clarinets. As the electric instruments enter, "Union Forever" becomes downright Rock in Opposition-tinged avant-proggy, but the octet remains improvisational at heart, with dark chording beneath a moody Noriega clarinet feature as the music escalates in urgency, retreating and then ramping up into a dissonant and powerfully pounding finale with second soloist Versace abandoning all sense of restraint in his keyboard attack.

Massive pummeling chords and Badenhorst's deep roaring beast of a bass clarinet mark the conclusion of the 12-minute "Whirly Swirly" (rearranged from Davis' 2014 trio recording Waiting for You to Grow), emerging out of the tune's cavernous drifting center and an opening free vs. funk battle with Versace on bass keys, Radley increasingly unmoored, and Davis repeating an off-kilter riff like a needle stuck on Monk. "Jumping Over Your Shadow" and "Always Leave Them (Wanting More)," two of the four Davis compositions premiered here, begin in expansive spaces for timbral exploration -- including avant jazz's de rigueur bass clarinet multiphonics and reed pops in the former -- and proceed through all manner of rough and tumble into tightly focused conclusions. Black, Versace, and a deeply bluesed-up Goldberg form a choppy little trio on "Jumping" before piano, guitar, and clarinets appear, stunningly tight, in harmonically advanced angular accents to the groove; "Always Leave Them" pits Davis, Radley, and Black in skittering free jazz mode against long bass clarinet harmonies before the tune wraps as a dark processional not unlike Belgian avant-proggers Univers Zero in tone. Some listeners might hear even more avant-prog stylings in Versace's quirky, Miriodor-ish organ motif on "The Ghost of Your Previous Fuckup," but improvisation also reigns in the track's full-ensemble cacophony, Davis and Black's wildly energized duet, and Bishop's didgeridoo-like contrabass clarinet vibrations. In a somewhat curious but affecting move, Save Your Breath's 15-minute closing track shares the album's title but stands as an outlier of sorts, floating in deeply immersive ambience and gradually taking more explicit form as something quietly and mysteriously alluring."-Dave Lynch, All Music

Jim Black is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians bringing jazz into the 21st century. In addition to being one of the most influential drummers of our time, he is also the leader of one of the world's most forward-thinking bands, AlasNoAxis, featuring his longtime collaborators Chris Speed, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson. Based on the foundation of his virtuosic but highly personal approach to jazz drumming, Black's aesthetic has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes. Though he is revered worldwide for his limitless technique and futuristic concepts, what many listeners treasure in most Jim Black's work is the relentless feeling of joy and invention he brings to his performances. Jim Black's smiling, kinetic, unpredictable presence has enthralled and inspired audiences worldwide for over twenty-five years.

Since the mid-90's, Black has played a major role in the incorporation of new sounds and techniques into the jazz/creative music context. As a member of the collective group Pachora (with Speed, Sverrisson, and guitarist Brad Shepik) Black was one of the leaders in the study and adaptation of Balkan music into jazz-based music. His advanced techniques abstracted the odd time signatures of the Balkans into a new polyrhythmic language equally informed by modern jazz, drum&bass and the dumbeks of the Balkans. Black has also been an innovator in the use of electronics in improvisation, bridging the gap between electro-acoustic improv and more jazz-based traditions. Today, Black's performances are just as likely to feature his laptop-based electronic textures as his drumming.

Born in 1967, Jim Black grew up in Seattle alongside future colleagues Chris Speed, Andrew D'Angelo and Cuong Vu. After cementing their personal and artistic relationships in Seattle's various youth jazz ensembles, in 1985 they moved to Boston, where Black entered the Berklee School of Music. In Boston, Black, Speed and D'Angelo formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, which rapidly attracted the attention of the jazz cognoscenti in Boston, New York and beyond.

By 1991, Black and the other members of Human Feel had moved to New York City, where they electrified the Downtown music scene then centered around the Knitting Factory and rapidly became among the city's busiest sidemen. Black's early years in New York saw him take featured roles in some of the most critically acclaimed bands of the time, like Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Ellery Eskelin's trio, and Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Thus began fifteen years of near-constant touring and recording, with the above bands as well as artists like Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Nels Cline, Steve Coleman, Tomasz Stanko, and Laurie Anderson.

-Jim Black Website (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Clean Feed
Octet Recordings
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Top Sellers and Staff Lists for 2015

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Price: $14.95
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Product Information:

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF 322
Squidco Product Code: 20835

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at SearSound in New York City, New York on January 7th and 8th, 2014 by Ron saint Germain.


Ben Goldberg-bass clarinet, contra alto clarinet, clarinet

Oscar Noriega-bass clarinet, clarinet

Joachim Badenhorst-bass clarinet, clarinet

Andrew Bishop-contrabass clarinet, clarinet

Nate Radley-guitar

Gary Versace-organ

Jim Black-drums

Kris Davis-piano, compositions

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Track Listing:

1. Union Forever 9:24

2. Jumping over Your Shadow 10:35

3. Always Leave Them (Wanting More) 10:00

4. Whirly Swirly 11:49

5. The Gost of Your Previous Fuckup 9:37

6. Save Your Breath 14:29