An essential part of the New York jazz scene since the mid-80s, pianist Russ Lossing's compositions employ concept and space in unique and personal ways, as heard in these 8 original works performed with his trio of long-time collaborators, double bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Billy Mintz, for an album of highly evolved and lyrically sophisticated music.
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Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1006
Squidco Product Code: 27857
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Charlestown Road Studio, in Hampton, New Jersey, on January 18th, 2011, by Paul Wickliffe.
Masa Kamaguchi-double bass
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• Show Bio for Russ Lossing
"Russ Lossing (born 1960) is an American jazz pianist, composer, improviser, arranger, educator, scholar.
Lossing was born in Ohio in 1960, and is from Columbus, Ohio. He had classical piano lessons from the age of 5 and began studying jazz aged 13 in Columbus at the Jazz and Contemporary Workshop with Dave Wheeler. After high school Lossing went on the road with a wide variety of bands including jazz, funk, rock, pop and country music for four years before attending university. He obtained a Bachelor of Music in piano at Ohio State University in 1986. In the early 1980s meetings with composer John Cage had a big effect:
We only had two occasions to get together and talk, but any time spent with him was utterly valuable. He read through my scores we played piano together. His thing was creating, not emulating: don't copy; trust YOURSELF. I was already going in this direction but this experience, listening to Cage's concepts and philosophy in this setting, made so much sense.
Later life and career
Lossing has been part of the New York jazz scene since 1986. In 1988 he earned a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. He has led or co-led numerous bands, including: his own trio with Masa Kamaguchi and Billy Mintz; Three-Part Invention with bassist Mark Helias and trumpeter Ralph Alessi; and duos with saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Gerry Hemingway, and guitarist Ben Monder. Others are: trio with Paul Motian and Ed Schuller (Dreamer and As It Grows); trio with Mat Maneri and Mark Dresser (Metal Rat); trio with John Hebert and Jeff Williams (Phrase 6); quartet with Loren Stillman, John Hebert and Eric McPherson (Personal Tonal); King Vulture with Adam Kolker, Matt Pavolka and Dayeon Seok; and duos with saxophonist Loren Stillman, bassist John Hebert (Line Up,Hatology), and saxophonost Michael Adkins.
Lossing played with drummer Paul Motian over a period of 12 years and recorded Drum Music, a solo piano tribute album to him in 2011. The JazzTimes reviewer of Drum Music commented that "his two-fisted takes on 'Fiasco', 'Dance' and 'Drum Music' capture the great drummer's unpredictable and audacious rhythmic pulse. Lossing's stark re-imaginings of [... other Motian pieces] all vibrate with a new spirit of exploration." Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag wrote that "Drum Music is a stunning improvisational solo recital, a convincing plunge into 10 Motian compositions. This is music in between contemporary jazz and up to date tonal concert music."
Lossing has performed in some of the world's leading jazz festivals including the London, Vienna, Harlem, Cully (Switzerland), Toronto and Venice (Italy) Jazz festivals to name just a few. He has also performed in jazz clubs in New York and Europe including The Village Vanguard (with Paul Motian), Blue Note NYC, The Jazz Standard, Birdland, Porgy and Bess (Vienna), Unterfahrt (Munich), Jazz Club Ferrara (Italy) and many more over a span of 25 years.
In February 2016, Lossing was invited by John Zorn to do a week long residency at The Stone NYC in which he presented 12 of his ensembles over 6 nights.
Lossing has composed over 400 pieces of music in many genres including jazz, contemporary classical (solo piano works, string quartets, orchestral works and song cycles), song writing in various styles, pop, rock, funk, fusion (in early life), film scoring (30+ films). In 2015, he founded the record label Aqua Piazza."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Lossing)
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• Show Bio for Masa Kamaguchi
"Masa Kamaguchi - Bass, Japan
Masa Kamaguchi was born in 1966 in Wakkanai City, the northernmost city in Hokkaido, Japan. Masa was inspired to take up the electric bass at age 14 after listening to the records of Jaco Pastorius. In 1985 he moved to Tokyo to attend the Hosei University where he studied engineering but also took up the acoustic bass, studying privately with Yoshio Ikeda, himself a former student of Gary Peacock. In 1990, Masa moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, and proceeded to study with drummer Joe Hunt. While based in Boston, Kamaguchi was in demand to play with many of the area's great musicians, including Geoge Gazone, Bert Sieger, Hal Crook, Herb Pomeroy and Frank Carberg. During this time in Boston, Masa also toured Europe and Scandinavia on several occasions.
In 1994, Masa moved to New York City where he is much in demand by many groups, performing with such lumininaries as Frank Kimbrough, Sonny Simmons, Ben Monder, David Murray, Toots Thielmans, Tony Malaby, Charles Gale and many others. His recording credits include dates with Frank Kimbrough, Paul Motion, Ron Horton, Dave Douglas, Sonny Simmons, Tony Malaby, John O'allager, Russ Lossing, Billy Mintz and many others.
in 2006, Masa moved to Barcelona, while he maintains strong connections with NY musicians. He also started to play with European musicians, such as Albert Bover, Perico Sambeat, Albert Sanz and Sara Serpa.
In January 2010, for Jamboree's 50-year anniversary, he played for the Jamboree All Star group and also the Fresh Sound All Star Group.
An acutely intuitive player, Masa brings an individual sound and fresh perspective to the acoustic bass. His rich warm tone and modern style define his individuality. Kamaguchi is a versatile player, at home with a truly wide range of musical influences, that translate into his brilliant concept."-Global Music Foundation (http://www.globalmusicfoundation.org/people/masa-kamaguchi/)
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1. Passageway 11:19
2. Breezeway 4:41
3. Causeway 8:36
4. Archway 12:16
5. Skyway 2:56
6. Byway 4:58
7. Away 3:23
8. Way 11:04
sample the album:
"Critics get a bad name for writing nonsense, and sometimes artists do, too. In fairness, we're all just trying to find ways of saying the unsayable, communicating in one medium sometimes quite profound ideas about what is happening in another. So when I say that with Russ Lossing's music I'm less interested in the notes than in the spaces between the notes, this isn't just pseudo-Zen nonsense and isn't a sneaky way of revealing that I know he once met John Cage and was much influenced by his ideas. In point of fact, there isn't another player around who makes me think more deeply about the distance between one tone and another, their spectral or textural relationships, and their interaction, sometimes over quite long durations.
These interests help explain why Lossing was so drawn to the music of [percussionist] Paul Motian, who had a unique and uniquely musical sense of distributed sound. We think of "intervals" as a rather abstract aspect of music, mathematical ratios that maybe appeal more to the mathematician than to the poet in us, but intervals are actually all we're hearing and Lossing's attachment to them is key to his work. He and Motian worked together on a couple of very fine albums, including the peerless hatOLOGY set As It Grows - more than a decade and a half old now: where does the time go? - and Lossing paid special tribute to the older man, who died in 2011, with a lovely set of piano interpretations that like the present trio set explored deeply into the concept and the practice of musical interval.
Recently, he has found other partners who embody the same qualities. Drummer Billy Mintz, who has done remarkable work with Vinny Golia and others, is a secret treasure, one of those musicians who like the leader here has power at his disposal but doesn't succumb to any macho urge to use it all the time. Bassist Masa Kamaguchi once made my jaw fall open with a tiny little spontaneous figure on a Matt Renzi album (he's the kind of bass player you actually do remember and listen for), and he does it again several times here on this extended programme of improvised pieces.
Lossing's debt to Motian is obvious and well-attested, but I wonder if he also takes inspiration from one of his native city's most famous sons. I once had the privilege of meeting Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the great master of multiple horn playing. I was 21 and dumb, but trying to play the saxophone (just the one), so I asked him what he thought improvisation was. Snaking his good hand from side to side, Kirk said it was simple, it was about "finding the way", which was a pretty extraordinary and moving thing to hear from a blind man. Kirk is nowadays a somewhat underrated figure, affectionately dismissed as something of a novelty act, but his playing often deals in very complex harmonics and unexpected juxtapositions of pitch and texture, qualities we would admire if Webern were doing it, but which we sometimes overlook because it comes out of Columbus, Ohio.
Whether from something in that city's water orjust a common philosophy of quest, Lossing and his colleagues seem to be exploring similar territory. These ways are like little journeys in sound, passages between one space and another. They're negotiated not in a choreographed way but in the natural, human way that we explore our surroundings or make purposive trips from one part of town to another. Elias Canetti wrote about this in Crowds and Power, a book that all improvisers would do well to study. The difference between an individual and a crowd is a matter for aesthetics as much as for politics. The relationship between individuals' trajectories, likewise. So when Lossing improvises, one knows that he does so within a set of language rules that have held fair for decades in our music. Canetti points out that the "entrances to [any given] space are limited in number" and that recognising the boundaries "prevents disorderly increase" and "postpones the dissolution" of the ensemble. You'll hear exactly this many times on Ways.
The album ends, not as it might with "The Way", which implies some kind of philosophical destination, but simply with "Way". I like the modest elegance of this, not just as a title but in execution as well. Here is a record that draws deeply on history but doesn't insist on inhabiting any of its contrived passages or halls of mirrors. It gives us something more precious: three men, finding a way ..."-Brian Morton, from the liner notes
The Squid's Ear!
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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