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Rothenberg, Ned Double Band: Real and Imagined Time (Moers Music)


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product information:

UPC: 4012770130067

Label: Moers Music
Catalog ID: 03006 CD
Squidco Product Code: 5529

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1993
Country: Germany
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Sorcerer Sound in New York City, New York, on May 11-12 and July 27-28, 1993, by John Siket.


Ned Rothenberg-alto saxophone, flute

Thomas Chapin-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute

Jerome Harris-electric bass, electric guitar

Billy Martin-drums

Chris Wood-electric bass

Jim Black-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Composer/Performer Ned Rothenberg has been internationally acclaimed for both his solo and ensemble music, presented for the past 33 years on 5 continents. He performs primarily on alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the shakuhachi - an endblown Japanese bamboo flute. His solo work utilizes an expanded palette of sonic language, creating a kind of personal idiom all its own. In an ensemble setting, he leads the trio Sync, with Jerome Harris, guitars and Samir Chatterjee, tabla, works with the Mivos string quartet playing his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and collaborates around the world with fellow improvisors. Recent recordings include this Quintet, The World of Odd Harmonics, Ryu Nashi (new music for shakuhachi), and Inner Diaspora, all on John Zorn's Tzadik label, as well as Live at Roulette with Evan Parker, and The Fell Clutch, on Rothenberg's Animul label."

-Ned Rothenberg Website (

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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 (

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track listing:

1. Railbread 6:32

2. Goon Squad 7:26

3. Real and Imagined Time 13:37

4. The Medley of Unbroken Lines: Once and Future/Freeka Seven/Open Jaw 18:16

5. Waltz Fracture 5:40

6. Fits and Starts 8:10
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"As the rhythms kick in on "Railbread" and the band starts churning through a rollicking groove, a sense of poignancy is unavoidable -- not the feeling one would normally expect from such an upbeat form of jazz-funk. But here they come, the two altoists up front in the stereo speakers, Ned Rothenberg to the right and Thomas Chapin to the left: two unbeatable downtown New York saxophonists, who -- along with the other four stalwarts of the Ned Rothenberg Double Band -- are ideally suited to realizing the bandleader's conception for this most satisfying amalgam of jazz, funk, rock, and avant-garde music styles. And given Chapin's premature passing in 1998 -- robbing the scene of one of its early lights, guiding forces, and most enthusiastic proponents -- it will never be possible to experience this lineup on a stage again. But there are the two Double Band discs on Moers, and for that fact listeners should be grateful. On the evidence of Real and Imagined Time, the group was on an upward trajectory when the CD was recorded in May and July of 1993. It's sometimes tempting to credit drummer Jim Black with enlivening every project he's in; let's just say that there's no evidence here to contradict that theory. Black and Billy Martin work together on drums as perfectly as Rothenberg and Chapin on saxophones; like the reedmen, they seem more like one musician with the physical resources of two -- that's how closely their playing is integrated. Rounding out the rhythm section -- or perhaps squaring off, given their sharp and percussive attacks -- are Chris Wood and Jerome Harris on electric basses, punchy and nailing the groove from start to finish. Harris is also given a few opportunities to blast off with burning solos on electric guitar; any fan of his work with Bobby Previte's Latin for Travelers or Empty Suits should find much to admire in his flare-ups on the title track and the initial "Once and Future" portion of "The Medley of Unbroken Lines." The three-part "Medley" is one of those extended-form Rothenberg powerhouses, and it perfectly illustrates the saxophonist's skill in fashioning multi-sectioned narratives and his ability to find the funk root in his trademark ostinatos. The full band rolls with him in the first measures of "Once and Future," but after several minutes everyone has dropped off but the leader, who maintains the piece's harmony and rhythmic momentum with powerful solo circular breathing -- the effect is a little like crossing Evan Parker with P-Funk. The band re-enters to support Harris' solo, collectively raising the dynamic level back up into the red zone, only to bring it down in a hypnotic segue to "Freeka Seven," a soulful cruiser that layers and builds polyrhythms and polyphony over its initial 7/8 mid-tempo pulse. The Rothenberg alto and Chapin flute solos here, and the flute melodies that both musicians play in counterpoint, provide some of the CD's loveliest moments. As "The Medley of Unbroken Lines" reaches its final four minutes and "Freeka Seven" segues into "Open Jaw," Rothenberg and Chapin shift back to saxophones and the percussives are punched up to a more assertive level; all six musicians unite in navigating a tricky ensemble chart that builds to the suite's dramatic and rousing finish. The CD's title track is nearly as ambitious as "Medley," noteworthy not only for the aforementioned fretwork from Harris but also the moody alto ruminations from an unaccompanied Rothenberg, a fiery soprano solo from Chapin, an energetic tandem drum blowout from Black and Martin (Deadheads and Allmaniacs take note), and the off-kilter rhythm beneath beautiful soprano and alto lines as the piece winds toward a rather spacy and understated conclusion. Listeners familiar with Rothenberg's classic Power Lines CD will recognize "Fits and Starts," the last track of Real and Imagined Time, which reappeared on the later Power Lines in more chamberesque form as "Bellhop Vontz." The funk quotient is higher on "Fits and Starts," and it's intriguing not only to hear how different the two versions sound, but also how alike they are despite their highly improvised feel. The Ned Rothenberg Double Band had truly hit its stride on this CD, and it leaves the listener elevated while also providing yet another reason to mourn Chapin's loss. Moers apparently has a third Double Band disc in the can, and one wishes that it might see the light of day sometime soon. It's hard to imagine that it would be anything less than a tremendous recording -- and one to provoke the same mixture of joy and sadness as Real and Imagined Time. "-Dave Lynch, All Music

Related Categories of Interest:

Rothenberg, Ned
Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
July 2007
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
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