Steve Lehnman's Quartet live playing original compositions that merge spontaneity, formalism, reflection, and extreme technical precision.
Lehman Quartet, Steve
Label: Clean Feed
Released in: Portugal
"Since bursting onto the international creative music scene in 2004 with Interface (Clean Feed 22) and Artificial Light (Fresh Sound 186), Steve Lehman has quickly established a reputation for creating cutting-edge music, both as a fiercely imaginative saxophonist and as a young visionary composer. Much has been made of Lehman's tutelage under Jackie McLean and Anthony Braxton, as well as his more recent collaborations (both as side person and leader) with musicians associated with the M-Base school (Vijay Iyer, Liberty Ellman, and Jonathan Finlayson, most notably). But what emerges in Lehman's music is a unique synthesis and transformation of the various aspects of his on-going study of music. The simple fact is that, at 28, Lehman has already laid down a musical gauntlet that very few modern improvisers are equipped to deal with. One is hard pressed to think of another saxophonist, at any age, capable of flourishing in bands led and co-led by Meshell Ndegeocello, Dave Burrell, Vijay Iyer, and Anthony Braxton; a composite context that requires a mastery of advanced experimental instrumental techniques, an ability to create explosive improvisations in the most highly structured and exigent of musical settings, and a deeply rooted rhythmic sense. Couple his prowess as a saxophonist with his current doctoral studies of composition and computer music at Columbia University in New York (under composers Tristan Murail and George Lewis), and it becomes clear that Lehman has arrived as a key figure in the contemporary music landscape.
But make no mistake; Lehman's music is not about postmodern pastiche. And though he draws inspiration from a diverse set of musical sources, his music never fails to reveal his modernist commitment to innovation and progress through serious research and focused work. Nowhere is this made more apparent than on Manifold, his new quartet record for the Clean Feed label, featuring long-time collaborators Jonathan Finlayson (Trumpet), John Hebert (Bass), and Nasheet Waits (Drums). Much of the music on Manifold is representative of a new, highly structured approach to open improvisation, in which formalism, reflection, and extreme technical precision co-exist with spontaneity and real-time decision-making. The near-telepathic interaction of the four ensemble members underscores the crucial and fundamentally compositional nature of deciding who plays together. Throughout Manifold, Lehman, Finlayson, Waits, and Hebert demonstrate an uncanny ability to create bracingly original music in compositional contexts ranging from Dusk, the quartet's powerful tribute to pianist/composer Andrew Hill; to Cloak and Dagger, Lehman's rhythmically complex miniature; to Interface, a series of frameworks for open improvisation that call for the members of Lehman's quartet to play with great rhythmic precision and formal nuance. Recorded live in 2007 as part of the Jazz ao Centro Festival in Coimbra, Portugal, Manifold is the third title in the JACC Series (established to document exceptional performances from the Jazz ao Centro Festival), which is produced by the Portuguese label Clean Feed. Knowing that Interface (recorded by Lehman's Camouflage Trio with Mark Dresser and Pheeroan akLaff in 2004) was the first recording in the JACC series, one gets a good idea of the excitement that Lehman's music has produced in Portugal and beyond. With Manifold Lehman continues to deliver on the promise of his early career and to assert the status bestowed upon him by The WIRE in 2004 as the man to watch on the ever-evolving New York scene."-Clean Feed
• Show Bio for John Hebert
"John Hebert was born in New Orleans, LA. He attended Loyola University from '90 to '92 where he was awarded with a complete scholarship. In 1992, John moved to the New York State area, completing his formal studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey; he graduated with a B.M. in Jazz Performance in 1994. After graduating, John moved to New York City where he quickly became a highly in demand bassist, both for live performances and studio sessions."-Marc Mommaas (http://www.mommaas.com/JohnHebert.html)
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• Show Bio for Jonathan Finlayson
"Jonathan Finlayson has been recognized by the New York Times as "...an incisive and often surprising trumpeter," who is "...fascinated with composition." Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system. He came under the tutelage of Bay Area legend Robert Porter, a veteran trumpeter from the bebop era who took Finlayson under his wing; he was often seen accompanying Porter on his gigs about town and sitting in on the popular Sunday nights jam session at the Bird Cage. He subsequently attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he studied with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens and Cecil Bridgewater.
Finlayson is a disciple of the saxophonist/composer/conceptualist Steve Coleman, having joined his band Five Elements in 2000 at the age of 18. He is widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with aplomb. Finlayson has performed and recorded in groups led by Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Henry Threadgill and played alongside notables such as Von Freeman, Jason Moran, Dafnis Prieto and Vijay Iyer."-Jonathan Finlayson Website (http://jonathanfinlayson.com/biography.html)
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• Show Bio for Steve Lehman
"Described as "a state-of-the-art musical thinker" and a "dazzling saxophonist," by The New York Times, Steve Lehman (b. New York City, 1978) is a composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across a broad spectrum of experimental musical idioms. Lehman's pieces for large orchestra and chamber ensembles have been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), So Percussion, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, the JACK Quartet, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and the Talea Ensemble. His recent recording, Mise en Abîme (Pi, 2014) was called the #1 Jazz Album of the year by NPR Music and The Los Angeles Times. And his previous recording, Travail, Transformation & Flow (Pi, 2009), was chosen as the #1 Jazz Album of the year by The New York Times.
The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, Lehman is an alto saxophonist who has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Meshell Ndegeocello, and High Priest of Anti-Pop Consortium, among many others. His recent electro-acoustic music has focused on the development of computer-driven models for improvisation, based in the Max/MSP programming environment. Lehman's work has been favorably reviewed in Artforum, Downbeat Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Wire, and on National Public Radio, the BBC, and SWR.
As a Fulbright scholar in France during the 2002-2003 academic year, Lehman began researching the reception of African-American experimental composers working in France during the 1970s. His article in the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation, "I Love You with an Asterisk: African-American Experimental Composers and the French Jazz Press, 1970-1980," is based on his Fulbright research. More recently, Lehman has published writings and presented lectures on a wide range of topics, including jazz pedagogy, rhythm cognition, and European notions of American experimentalism. His current scholarship, including a forthcoming contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, examines the overlapping histories of spectral composition and jazz improvisation.
Lehman received his B.A. (2000) and M.A. in Composition (2002) from Wesleyan University where he studied under Anthony Braxton, Jay Hoggard, and Alvin Lucier, while concurrently working with Jackie McLean at the Hartt School of Music. He received his doctorate with distinction in Music Composition from Columbia University (2012), where his principal teachers included Tristan Murail and George Lewis.
Lehman has taught undergraduate courses at Wesleyan University, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, New School University, and Columbia University, and has presented lectures at Amherst College, UC Berkeley, The Berklee School of Music, The Banff Centre, The Royal Academy of Music in London, and IRCAM in Paris, where he was a 2011 research fellow.
Beginning in September 2016, Lehman will join the music faculty at The California Institute of the Arts."-Steve Lehman Website (http://www.stevelehman.com/bio)
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Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF 097
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Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded live in 2007 as part of the Jazz ao Centro Festival in Coimbra, Portugal.
John Hebert-double bass
Steve Lehman-alto, sopranino saxophones
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1. Interface D
2. Is this Rhythm 3. Dusk
4. Interface F
5. Interface C 6. Cloak & Dagger
7. Interface A
9. For Evan Parker
All Compositions by Steve Lehman except "Dusk" composed by Andrew Hill and "Berceuse" composed by Jonathan Finlayson.