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Rainey, Tom Obbligato: Float Upstream (Intakt)

An album of standards interpreted by NY drummer Tom Rainey's and his band Obbligato of Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Ingrid Laubrock on saxophones, Kris Davis on piano, and Drew Gress on bass, sincerely approaching the great songbooks that fuel traditional jazz, each updated and modulated but not overtly deconstructed, as the band finds great inspiration for group interplay.
 

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product information:


UPC: 7640120192921

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: INT292
Squidco Product Code: 24966

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Austria
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Brooklyn Recording, in New York City, on January 19th, 2017, by Andy Taub.


Personnel:

Ralph Alessi-trumpet

Ingrid Laubrock-saxophones

Kris Davis-piano

Drew Gress-bass

Tom Rainey-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Trumpeter/Composer Ralph Alessi was born in San Francisco,CA, the son of classical trumpeter Joe Alessi and opera singer Maria Leone. After taking degrees in jazz trumpet and bass-he studied under the legendary Charlie Haden at CalArts-he lit out for New York, where he swiftly became an ubiquitous presence on the downtown scene. He's been a frequent collaborator with such notable musicians as Steve Coleman, Jason Moran, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch, Uri Caine and Marc Copland. Alessi has recorded nine albums of original compositions which draw on everything from post-bop to neo classical music. He currently records for the ECM record label including his 2016 release Quiver. In 2018, he will release a new This Against That record on the label. As an educator, Ralph is an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at University of Nevada-Reno as well as the director of the School for Improvisational Music."

-Ralph Alessi Website (http://www.ralphalessi.com/html/about.php)
12/8/2018

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

"Originally from Germany, Ingrid Laubrock resides in Brooklyn, NY. Between 1989 and 2009 she was active as a saxophonist and composer in London/UK. She performed and/or recorded with: Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Kenny Wheeler, Jason Moran, Tim Berne, William Parker, Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis, Tyshawn Sorey, Craig Taborn, Luc Ex, Django Bates' Human Chain, The Continuum Ensemble and many others.

Ingrid's current projects as a leader are Anti-House, Sleepthief, Ingrid Laubrock Orchestra, Ingrid Laubrock Sextet and Ubatuba. Collaborations include LARK,Haste,Paradoxical Frog and Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Duo.She is a member of Anthony Braxton's Falling River Music Quartet, Nonet and 12+1tet, Tom Rainey Trio and Obbligato, Andrew Drury's Content Provider, Mary Halvorson Septet, Kris' Davis Quintet, Nate Wooley's Battle Pieces and Luc Ex' Assemblée. Ingrid was one of the featured soloists in Anthony Braxton's opera Trillium J.

Awards include the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2004, a Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the Arts Foundation in 2006, the 2009 SWR German Radio Jazz Prize and the 2014 German Record Critics Quarterly Award. Commissions include Jammy Dodgers for jazz quintet and dancers (2006), Nonet music for Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2007, SWR New Jazz Meeting 2011 and "Vogelfrei", a piece for chamber orchestra (ACO/Tricentric Foundation). She won Rising Star/soprano saxophone in the 2015 in the 'Downbeat Annual Critics Poll and won the 'El Intruso Critics Poll for tenor saxophone in 2013. Ingrid was Improviser in Residence 2012 in the German city Moers. The post is created to introduce creative music into the city throughout the year. As part of this she led a regular improvisation ensemble and taught sound workshops in elementary schools. Other teaching experiences include improvisation workshops at Towson University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Baruch College, University of Michigan, University of Newcastle and many others."

-Ingrid Laubrock Website (http://ingridlaubrock.com/about.html)
12/8/2018

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

"Pianist-composer Kris Davis has blossomed as one of the singular talents on the New York jazz scene, a deeply thoughtful, resolutely individual artist who offers "uncommon creative adventure," according to JazzTimes. The Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-residing Davis was dubbed one of the music's top up-and-comers in a 2012 New York Times article titled "New Pilots at the Keyboard," with the newspaper saying: "Over the past couple years in New York, one method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis." Reviewing one of the series of striking albums Davis has released over the past half-decade, the Chicago Sun-Times lauded the "sense of kaleidoscopic possibilities" in her playing and compositions.

Long favored by her peers and jazz fans in the know, Davis has earned high praise from no less than star pianist and MacArthur "Genius" Grant honoree Jason Moran, who included her in his Best of 2012 piece in Art Forum, writing: "A freethinking, gifted pianist on the scene, Davis lives in each note that she plays. Her range is impeccable; she tackles prepared piano, minimalism and jazz standards, all under one umbrella. I consider her an honorary descendant of Cecil Taylor and a welcome addition to the fold."

The newest album from Davis as a leader is Capricorn Climber (Clean Feed, 2013), with the pianist joined by kindred spirits Ingrid Laubrock (tenor saxophone), Mat Maneri (viola), Trevor Dunn (double-bass) and Tom Rainey (drums). Davis made her debut on record as a leader with Lifespan (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2003), followed by three progressively inventive and acclaimed albums for the Fresh Sound label: the quartet discs The Slightest Shift (2006) and Rye Eclipse (2008), then the trio set Good Citizen (2010). Davis's 2011 solo piano album on Clean Feed, Aeriol Piano, appeared on Best of the Year lists in The New York Times, JazzTimes and Art Forum. Davis wrote the extraordinary arrangements for saxophonist-composer Tony Malaby's nonet project Novela, with the album Novela released by Clean Feed in 2011 and appearing on Best of the Year lists in DownBeat and JazzTimes. The pianist is also part of the collaborative Paradoxical Frog with Laubrock and drummer Tyshawn Sorey; their eponymous 2011 album on Clean Feed was included on Best of the Year lists by National Public Radio, The New York Times and All About Jazz.

In addition to her work as a leader, Davis has performed with such top figures as Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, John Hollenbeck, Michael Formanek and Mary Halvorson. Davis started playing piano at age 6, studying classical music through the Royal Conservatory in Canada and formulating her desire for a life in music by playing in the school jazz band at age 12. She earned a bachelor's degree in Jazz Piano from the University of Toronto and attended the Banff Centre for the Arts jazz program in 1997 and 2000. The pianist received a Canada Council grant to relocate to New York and study composition with Jim McNeely, then another to study extended piano techniques with Benoit Delbecq in Paris. She holds a master's in Classical Composition from the City College of New York, and she teaches at the School for Improvised Music.

The Jazz Gallery has given Davis a commissioning residency to write for her trio with Rainey and John Hébert to take place in May 2013, and the Shifting Foundation awarded her a grant to compose and record a large-ensemble project. About her art, JazzTimes has declared: "Davis draws you in so effortlessly that the brilliance of what she's doing doesn't hit you until the piece has slipped past." "

-Kris Davis Website (http://krisdavis.net/bio/)
12/8/2018

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

"Drew Gress (born November 20, 1959) is an American jazz double-bassist and composer born in Trenton, New Jersey, raised in the Philadelphia area, and currently based in New York City.

Biography

Gress became interested in jazz and the double bass while a teenager, joining the Pennsbury Concert Jazz Band, a nationally-prominent high school jazz ensemble, in 1975, spending two years as bassist and arranger for the group. His interest in composing original material for large ensembles, such as those of Johnny Richards, Billy May, and Pat Williams, led him to Baltimore's Towson State University in 1977, where he studied composition and counterpoint with Hank Levy, known for his work with Don Ellis and Stan Kenton. While at Towson, Gress established a playing relationship with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, with whom he cofounded Joint Venture with Paul Smoker and Phil Haynes. They released three albums on Enja Records between 1987 and 1994.

During the 1980s in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, he played with Sonny Stitt, Clifford Jordan, Albert Dailey, Mose Allison, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, and pianist Marc Copland, with whom he still plays today. He also served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, Towson State University, and the Baltimore School for the Arts. He formed a quartet, Tekke, in 1989 with David Kane, Glenn Cashman, and Michael Smith.

In 1997, he cofounded the cooperative improvising trio Paraphrase with saxophonist/composer Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Together, they pursued a compositional approach to free improvisational practice. They recorded three live albums together and toured extensively.

In 1998, he released his first album as leader, Heyday, with his band Jagged Sky (featuring David Binney, Ben Monder, and Kenny Wollesen). 2001 saw the release of Spin & Drift with Uri Caine, Berne, and Rainey, in which he played pedal steel guitar for the first time.

Earlier in the 1990s, he served tenures as artist in residence at University of Colorado-Boulder and at Russia's St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Since 1992, Gress has maintained an extensive touring schedule, traveling to Europe, Asia, and South America. Those with whom he has and continues to work include Tim Berne, Ravi Coltrane, Uri Caine, John Hollenbeck, Fred Hersch, Marc Copland, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Jack DeJohnette, John Surman, Ray Anderson, Erik Friedlander, Kenny Werner, Bill Carrothers, Ralph Alessi, Tony Malaby, Steve Lehman, and Edsel Gomez. To date, he has appeared on over 140 recordings, 4 of which have received Grammy nominations.

Gress' own ensembles have toured Europe four times since 2002, in addition to isolated festival appearances in Italy and Portugal. In 2004, the UK's BBC Radio and London's Guardian selected his quartet's live radio broadcast as Jazz Concert of the Year.

Composition awards include an NEA grant (1990), funding from Meet the Composer (2003), a Chamber Music America New Works Grant (2005), a CMA French-American Exchange Grant (2007), and an Encore Grant from that same organization (2008). He continues to compose for larger groups and has begun experimenting with virtual synthesizers."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Gress)
12/8/2018

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

"Thomas "Tom" Rainey (born 1957, Santa Barbara, California) is an American drummer.

After attending Berklee College of Music he moved to New York in 1979. He has played with American jazz saxophonist and composer Tim Berne, and also with Nels Cline, Fred Hersch, Tony Malaby, Tom Varner, Drew Gress, Kenny Werner, Mark Helias, and Simon Nabatov. A prolific session musician, he has appeared on close to eighty recordings over a career spanning over 25 years.

He released his own first album, Pool School (Clean Feed), in 2010."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Rainey)
12/8/2018

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


1. Stella by Starlight 5:15

2. Beatrice 6:22

3. What Is This Thing Called Love? 4:03

4. What's New 10:36

5. There Is No Greater Love 6:49

6. Float Upstream 5:24

7. I Fall in Love Too Easily 4:54
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"On this second CD with his band Obbligato Tom Rainey surprises with standards and beautiful love songs like "Stella by Starlight", "What Is This Thing Called Love" or "I Fall in Love too Easily". Tom Rainey has played in bands with Tim Berne, Fred Hirsch and Craig Taborn, and his own trio with Ingrid Laubrock and Mary Halvorson. For this ensemble he chose some of the finest players New York has to offer: Ingrid Laubrock, Ralph Alessi, Kris Davis and Drew Gress. Christian Broecking writes (liner notes): "With Obbligato, Rainey brings two familiar acquaintances from Jazz history to the fore - collective playing and improvising on Standards - the actual material itself, the well-known melodies and chord progressions are not overly taken apart. With Obbligato he wanted to find his own way of playing the milestones of Jazz history." "-Intakt



"In the world of free jazz, there is no single approach to interpreting the "standards" - you've got some musicians (Braxton, for example) who seem to prefer moving within the same harmonic/melodic realm in which the original pieces themselves were composed. Others take a far looser tack that often leads to a complete deconstruction of the source material, after which there's not much left that's recognizable to the listener. Tom Rainey's group Obbligato works somewhere between these two extremes, choosing neither strict adherence to nor extreme deviation from the blueprints of the standards that they're working with. The result is a fresh take on compositions that, for some, might have gotten a bit stale after decades of more-or-less faithful (re)interpretation. Consisting of Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Ingrid Laubrock on saxes, Kris Davis on piano, Drew Gress on bass, and Rainey himself on drums, Obbligato will undoubtedly get the attention of anyone who has kept up with these artists - each one of them has been involved with some of the finest releases of the past few years (including a previous release together, reviewed here), and to see them all working together on a set of standards is bound to, at the very least, intrigue even the fiercest free jazz fanatic.

The album begins with the languid romanticism of "Stella by Starlight" - while the piece's opening moments find the rhythm section mostly reigning in their wilder impulses, Alessi and Laubrock are a bit more exploratory; the two circle one another in sinuous arcs that, despite their playfulness, never spin off into the intrepid excursions that the the players are known for in other contexts. As the tempo picks up, though, Rainey and Davis each unveil tiny hints of the abandon they're capable of - Davis sends out tiny, supercharged fragments of melody, tinged with dissonance, and Rainey's constantly-shifting shapes are like the bubbles that form in a pot of boiling water, pushing ever outward against the boundaries of the composition. The next track, a take on Sam Rivers' "Beatrice," loses none of the free-floating wistfulness of the original, but nevertheless manages to make itself distinct. The tight interplay between Alessi and Laubrock is a wonder in itself, and the tiny forays into the avant-garde that they make (some overblowing here, a shambolic cluster of notes there) help to maintain a small, yet powerful, element of tension. The endearing mischief of Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is here refracted through a cracked kaleidoscope, with Rainey's restless cymbal-taps and Gress's walking bass acting as the catalysts that push the others into more and more frenzied territory. When Davis finally joins in around the two-minute mark, it's in a mode that readers of this blog (and previous listeners of Davis's work) will already be familiar with - manic cascades of notes, wild oscillations, and a percussive attack. "What's New," a 1939 standard composed by Bob Haggart, opens with an evocative solo by Gress that leads perfectly into the soft shades of melancholy that Davis conjures up. Shortly thereafter, Alessi and Laubrock launch into a twisting, diaphanous conversation with one another, while never tarnishing the piece's delicate mood. Likewise, Rainey keeps a soft touch, his rhythms and brushwork acting more as textural swathes than time-keeping devices. "There Is No Greater Love" moves the album in a more energetic direction, with Rainey taking the first couple of minutes to offer up a spirited, elastic solo. The other players take his lead, Laubrock and Alessi in particular exploring a range of melodic paths that criss-cross one another, flit off, and eventually dovetail again. The one non-standard, "Float Upstream," is unsurprisingly one of the more adventurous numbers: the horns take more tonal risks, Davis's exquisite piano-work acquires sinister undertones, and the composition itself is knottier and more abrasive than anything else here. Its explosive conclusion is a wonderful palette-cleanser before the album closes with the dim-lit tenderness of "I Fall in Love Too Easily."

To many avid listeners of "free" music, the standards can often sound mawkish and overly saccharine. Admittedly, my first listen-through of Float Upstream left me with a syrupy-sweet taste in my mouth that, while not unpleasant, certainly didn't give me the intoxicating rush that I can get from, say, Davis's Rye Eclipse or Ingrid Laubrock's Anti-House recordings. Upon further listens, however, I came to appreciate the admittedly difficult work that Obbligato have set themselves with this project; approaching the standards as they do, from an angle of avant-garde experimentalism, is very likely to be an exercise in restraint - it calls for toning down your wilder impulses and "playing it straight," so to speak, while still putting enough of yourself into the arrangements so that they don't seem sterile. In this regard, Obbligato have definitely put together a sublime set. The standards here are handled respectfully, but not with kid gloves, and the result is a refreshing re-examination of these pieces and the power that they have to capture us and hold us in awe."-Derek Stone, The Free Jazz Collective


Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective
Related Categories of Interest:


Intakt
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Quintet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music


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