NY trumpeter Nate Wooley started "The Almond" as a short study, but the piece grew upon itself into a major work, glacially shifting tones of unaltered playing following a complex pitch, mute, tuning and microphone structure.
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"The Almond started as a short study for trumpet for the British website Compost and Height. Wooley, a rising young composer known mostly for his radical recontextualization of the trumpet in improvisation and jazz music, was, at the time, feeling constricted by the sound based language he had been using up to that point in both his live solo playing and his earlier solo records. His goal was to make a true solo trumpet record, using only the trumpet as it was intended to be played with no extended techniques. This challenge spawned a 20-minute piece that, at the surface level, was a quick, arcing narrative made up glacially shifting textures of pure pitched sound.
The process behind the piece was much more complex, however, as each pitch heard in the piece was made up of anywhere from three to ten different recordings of the trumpet recorded in different mutes, tunings, with different microphones, and in different rooms. The result was each note of the piece, now expanded to 70 minutes in its final version, takes on a synthesized aspect, sometimes sounding like a voice, others like an organ, but always maintaining some timbral tie to the trumpet. With the exception of one very low pedal tone, all the pitches are played on a regular embouchure, again a far cry from Wooley's usual work.
The piece grew to 70 minutes as a formal construction for the presentation of materials became clear to the composer. What is on the recording, The Almond, is a much different piece of work from the early, raw 20-minute study that spawned it. Now the materials appear and return in the same relaxed pace, but they seem to grow out of each other, spatialized in a way that suggests a more organic movement than the tedious tape preparation outlined above would suggest. Groups of pitches appear and recede, creating phantom overtones of ghostly singing as they interact with other harmonies already present in the work. In the original sketch, posted on Compost and Height, Wooley suggests that The Almond should be listened to at a high volume or better yet in headphones. The extended version of the work, here presented for the first time, is better experienced loud on speakers with time to listen in a relaxed way to the complete 70 minutes, allowing the listener to follow the entrance and exit of each new harmony."-Pogus
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"Nate Wooley was born in 1974 in Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of 2,000 people in the timber country of the Pacific Northwestern corner of the U.S. He began playing trumpet professionally with his father, a big band saxophonist, at the age of 13. His time in Oregon, a place of relative quiet and slow time reference, instilled in Nate a musical aesthetic that has informed all of his music making for the past 20 years, but in no situation more than his solo trumpet performances.
Nate moved to New York in 2001, and has since become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Eliane Radigue, Ken Vandermark, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans, and Mary Halvorson.
Wooley's solo playing has often been cited as being a part of an international revolution in improvised trumpet. Along with Peter Evans and Greg Kelley, Wooley is considered one of the leading lights of the American movement to redefine the physical boundaries of the horn, as well as demolishing the way trumpet is perceived in a historical context still overshadowed by Louis Armstrong. A combination of vocalization, extreme extended technique, noise and drone aesthetics, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor has led one reviewer to call his solo recordings "exquisitely hostile".
In the past three years, Wooley has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Time Out New York has called him "an iconoclastic trumpeter", and Downbeat's Jazz Musician of the Year, Dave Douglas has said, "Nate Wooley is one of the most interesting and unusual trumpet players living today, and that is without hyperbole". His work has been featured at the SWR JazzNow stage at Donaueschingen, the WRO Media Arts Biennial in Poland, Kongsberg, North Sea, Music Unlimited, and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, and the New York New Darmstadt Festivals. In 2011 he was an artist in residence at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY and Cafe Oto in London, England. In 2013 he performed at the Walker Art Center as a featured solo artist.
Nate is the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music (www.dramonline.org) and the editor-in-chief of their online quarterly journal Sound American (www.soundamerican.org) both of which are dedicated to broadening the definition of American music through their online presence and the physical distribution of music through Sound American Records. He also runs Pleasure of the Text which releases music by composers of experimental music at the beginnings of their careers in rough and ready mediums."-Nate Wooley Website (http://natewooley.com/about)
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Sound, Noise, &c.
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Catalog ID: POGUS 21061
Squidco Product Code: 15478
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded by Nate Wooley on April 24th, 2010 at the Convent, Jersey City, NJ.
Nate Wooley-trumpet, voice
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1. The Almond 1:12:03