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Multi-reedist Vinny Golia focuses on the baritone sax and the tubax (contrabass sax) in this spectacular album performed with his octet of Ken Filiano, Brian Walsh, Gavin Templeton, Dan Rosenboom, George McMullen, Alex Noyce, and Matt Mayhall.

Golia, Vinny
Low and Inside; (Close Call Anyway...) Music for Baritone Saxophone

Golia, Vinny: Low and Inside; (Close Call Anyway...) Music for Baritone Saxophone (Nine Winds)
Label: Nine Winds    
Released in: USA    

"Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia has been both the beacon and a touchstone for the West Coast free improvising community, particularly in Los Angeles, for over 30 years. Golia started his Nine Winds label in 1977, as a vehicle for distributing his own music, then expanded its mission statement around 1980 to document music from Canada to Mexico that wasn't being heard. Some 200 releases later, Nine Winds is still on the cutting edge, still exposing adventurous musicians to discerning listeners.

Golia has been making terrific records for eons, but even amongst his excellent catalog, Music For Baritone Saxophone is a highlight achievement.

For starters, the octet assembled is loaded with virtuoso players interpreting very creative music with exquisite arrangements. Somehow Golia has managed to produce one of his most accessible records in years without compromising a bit on his originality.

Due to a snafu in the CD printing, e-flat and bass clarinetist Brian Walsh was left off the octet personnel in the liner notes; unfortunate, because he's one of the reasons this disc works so well. The brass section of Dan Rosenboom on trumpet and George McMullen on trombone are key-especially Rosenboom, who gets the lion-share of solo space. An intriguing component is Alex Noyce on electric guitar. He favors a John McLaughlin type overdriven tone on much of this album, circa Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia, 1970). He knows how to ramp up the tension, and, amazingly, his rock-ish timbre fits perfectly with the horns. Gavin Templeton on alto saxophone gets a good deal of improv time-he's got an updated sense of Eric Dolphy in his performances. The veteran Ken Filiano is never less than compelling on doublebass, and Matt Mayhall on drums is fiery and disruptive in the best possible sense-he keeps this music surging forward.

Golia himself redefines the notion of what is possible on the baritone saxophone, and, on several cuts, takes that one step further on his custom-made Tubax, a refinement of the contrabass saxophone. His solos on either one have all the fluidity and acceleration of much smaller horns-there's never an urge to describe either as "lumbering," because in his hands they are not. On "And These People Drive Too!" Golia's Tubax hits the ground running with long, quicksilver lines that dart from low to high with astonishing precision The full band enters at about the 4:00 mark, after a crisp drum solo. Rosenboom's, tart, clarion-call trumpet emerges, expands, then yields to a distorted, caterwauling guitar solo. Throughout, the horn ensemble wraps Anthony Braxton-esque counterpoint around the soloists. [...]

Anyone who appreciates tight, creative ensemble work and virtuosic soloing should give Music For Baritone Saxophone a listen. Golia is something of a baseball enthusiast, hence the album subtitle: Low and Inside; (close call anyway...).To carry the baseball metaphor one step further, on this masterpiece, Golia swings for the fences...and clears them."-Robert Bush, All About Jazz

"Matt Mayhall is a drummer and composer based in Los Angeles. Like many instrumentalists on the L.A. scene, Matt has embraced a full range of musical pursuits. He's toured with The Both - a group with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo - since the release of their album in 2014. He's performed with Liz Phair, John Doe of X, Dar Williams, and Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. Yet he's also played with an enviable list of jazz musicians, players like keyboardists Larry Goldings and Adam Benjamin, bassists Tim Lefebvre and Eric Revis, guitarist Anthony Wilson, and saxophonists Vinny Golia and Chris Speed.

For a number of years he was in Spain, the syncretic alt-country/slowcore group led by Josh Haden, son of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden. Matt has the distinction of being the drummer on Charlie Haden's final recorded performance, Spain's song "You And I." He can also be seen in the IFC television series Documentary Now! as a member of the fictitious soft-rock band The Blue Jean Committee, produced and led by Saturday Night Live veterans Fred Armisen and Bill Hader.

Over the past decade, Matt has employed this all-of-the-above strategy to great effect, and with that confirmation it's time for him to finally release an album of his own.

The album is called Tropes, and features some of Matt's musical kindred spirits: guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Brian Blade Fellowship), and bassist Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Allen Toussaint, Meshell Ndegeocello), with appearances by keyboardist Jeff Babko (Frank Ocean, Mark Guiliana's Beat Music), and tenor saxophonist Chris Speed (Human Feel, Claudia Quintet).

Matt wrote all of the music at the piano, which he admits is not an instrument he is entirely comfortable with. This was by design. "I didn't have an impulse to write anything flashy, heavily rhythmic, or 'drum-centric,'" he states. "I was really just taking direction and drawing inspiration from chord sequences and melodies I had come up with." But this is not to say drums are downplayed elsewhere; in fact, Matt has discovered innovative textures and beats, providing clarifying rhythmic context to his compositions.

The result is a set of moody and spacious instrumental pieces in which improvisational stretching is kept to a minimum or woven into the compositional forms, with Parker's guitar as the primary melodic and chordal instrument. While many of the songs employ the repetition of a set of chord changes, these vignettes offer much more than just an initial premise to begin soloing.

Tropes stands out as an important album for its place in time and geography, as Los Angeles is now being recognized as a viable alternative instrumental music scene. Innovation need not be contrived, and with Matt Mayhall's new album we have a sonically compelling glimpse into the power of self-introspection and honest curiosity as a means of moving forward artistically. Here's betting Tropes will be among the albums which represent and define our current and evolving musical climate."

-Matt Mayhall Website (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Octet Recordings

Get additional information at All About Jazz

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Product Information:

UPC: 616892108863

Label: Nine Winds
Catalog ID: 299
Squidco Product Code: 16277

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded by Jon Baffa on May 20th, 2009 at Roy O Disney Hall, California Institute of the Arts.


Vinny Golia-baritone saxophone, tubax

Gavin Templeton-alto saxophone

Dan Rosenboom-trumpet

George McMullen-trombone, bass trombone

Alex Noyce-electric guitar, effects

Ken Filiano-acoustic bass, effects

Matt Mayhall-drums

Brian Walsh-e-flat and bass clarinet

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Track Listing:

1. The Return Of The Post Marathon Man 6:54

2. Prolouge 1:00

3. Mr And Mrs Sam Wells Check Into The Hotel In Bombay 6:36

4. You Don'tLike Beethoven 8:29

5. And These People Drive Too! (Subterranean) 8:19

6. Velature 9:43

7. Answer; Coined The Word Boheeka 9:20

8. Attack Of The People Named Frank Johnson 7:42

9. An Anticipation Of Only Catasrophe 9:06

10. Swing Plane 8:23