Three creative young musicians in New York Tsahar, Mat Maneri and Black in a trio of warmly orchestrated free improv with witty restraint in extended conversation.
Tsahar / Maneri / Black
Label: Hopscotch Records
Released in: USA
"Whether sparse or dense, light or heavy, stuttering or gliding, the nine untitled tracks on Jam feel like a natural progression. Something of a summit for these three out jazz improvisers, the recording unfurls like a series of open conversations might extend to tell a story.
That's appropriate given these players' exquisite control of their instruments and their preference for listening and responding, rather than shooting from the hip. And given that each of the nine untitled tracks tends to be an encapsulated entity, they unfold like chapters down a musical path. There's almost no melody in the usual sense here, but that doesn't hinder the flow at all.
Assif Tsahar's real strength lies in his ability to coax an extremely broad range of timbres from his instruments, in this case the tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. His playing is rarely clean; instead of handling the horn "correctly," he drifts up and down around notes, coloring them with breath and overtones. The depth of his horns on this date is appropriately matched with Mat Maneri's 5-string violin, which stretches down into viola territory and quite often sounds like a cello. All that warmth makes the combination seem more human and better connected. And it's a pleasure to hear quick-witted (and usually quick-handed) drummer Jim Black in this setting, mostly channeling his usual flying sparks into a burning glow.
The first track on Jam sounds like the musicians are sitting down, getting comfortable, and settling into a rhythm. As the recording continues, the three players engage in short, halting interchanges, closely spaced without overcrowding. They sit back, introducing more space within and between each other's notes. As time passes the overall tenor of the record has been established: darkly clouded, deliberate, and often ominous. A brief wakeup call midway through marks a spike in energy where musical phrases crowd together in a more jumpy fashion, but then it's right back to more quiet brooding, and finally a gentle flush of dissonant waves closes things out.
Restraint and coherence are the key factors here. The first quality means the music consistently skirts overstatement, the second means it still spans a range and tells a story. The title of the record (in either culinary or musical senses) is somewhat ironic, though. This jam is more black currant than strawberry, served with more deliberate intent than freewheeling abandon."-Nils Jacobson, All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Mat Maneri
"Mat Maneri was born in 1969, and started studying violin at age five. He studied privately with Julliard String Quartet founder Robert Koff, and with bass virutuoso Miroslav Vitous. Mat received a full scholarship as the principal violinist at Walnut Hill High School, but left school to pursue a professional career in music. By 1990, Mat founded the critically acclaimed Joe Maneri Quartet with Randy Peterson. Mat started releasing records as a leader in 1996, and has developed four working ensembles. Pianists Paul Bley, Cecil Taylor, Matthew Shipp, and Borah Bergman have called upon Matt to perform with them in such venues as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Library of Congress, and concert stages across Europe. Mat also enjoys a strong relationship with bassists Ed Schuller, Mark Dresser, William Parker, Michael Formanek, Barre Phillips, and John Lockwood. Never to be boxed in, Mat has also worked with Joe Morris, John Medeski, Tim Berne, Cecil McBee, T.K. Ramakrishnan, Franz Kogelman, Roy Campbell, Spring Heel Jack, Draze Hoops, and appears on an Illy B Eats remix CD. Mat presently teaches privately and through the New School / NYC, and performs and records worldwide."-Aum Fidelity (http://www.aumfidelity.com/maneri.html)
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• Show Bio for Jim Black
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 (http://www.jimblack.com/Jim_Black_dotcom/BIO.html)
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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Hopscotch Records
Catalog ID: HOP 21
Squidco Product Code: 2408
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Assif Tsahar-tenor sax, bass clarinet
Mat Maneri-5 string electric violin
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1. Part One 6:40
2. Part Two 4:57
3. Part Three 7:02
4. Part Four 6:07
5. Part Five 4:24
6. Part Six 5:41
7. Part Seven 3:34
8. Part Eight 5:11
9. Part Nine 8:11