The Ratchet Orchestra is a large ensemble of 30 fringe musicians from Montreal headed by director Nicolas Caloia whose compositions allow for improvised chamber jazz and showcase the talents of the orchestra's most passionate players.
Label: Drip Audio
Released in: Canada
"The eclectic astounding and sometimes mystifying Ratchet Orchestra continue to attract attention with the release of their third recording Hemlock. Recorded by Godspeed you! Black Emperor bassist Thierry Amar and released on the Vancouver label Drip Audio, The Ratchet Orchestra is a who's who of Montreal's edgiest musicians. Director Nicolas Caloia's compositions provide a structure to showcase fierce talents like Tom Walsh, Jean Derome, Lori Freedman, Sam Shalabi, and Christopher Cauley. The Ratchet Orchestra has existed since the early 1990s when Caloia started experimenting with improvised chamber jazz. In 1998 the size of the band began to swell for a legendary birthday tribute to the inspirational SunRa and it has continued expanding to it's current membership of 30 strong. This band makes a powerful sound but is not designed to be a demonstration of force, rather, it embraces human frailty. The Ratchet Orchestra does not resemble a sports team or an army, it's members do not have to march in perfect formation. They are pirates, not the navy. The group defies reason.
Since 1990 Nicolas Caloia has worked at creating a contemporary music generated by using accurately composed textures to channel collective improvisation. The goal is a music that erases the lines between improvised and composed, pop and avant-garde, good and bad. He hopes this music will satisfy the body, the mind and, above all, the heart. He has worked as a performer, composer, and organizer in Montreal and has toured in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed and recorded in a vast array of contexts with the most important members of Montreal's creative music community as well as with internationally renowned musicians like Marshall Allen, John Butcher, Joe McPhee, Steve Lacy, Hassan Hakmoun, Tristan Honsinger and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. His concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. Currently, the majority of his work as a composer and improviser finds a voice in: The Ratchet Orchestra - a 30 piece bigband; Tilting - the Nicolas Caloia Quartet, Ring - a sextet, Spell - a 10 piece marching band, Trephining a quintet, Mercury - a duet Lori Freedman as well in solo performances."-Drip Audio
• Show Bio for Jean Derome
"Jean Derome. Born Montréal, Québec, 1955. esidence: Montréal, Québec. Composer, Performer (saxophones (alto, baritone, soprano), flutes (flute, bass flute, piccolo, alto flute, recorders), keyboards, small wind instruments (ocarinas, jew's harp, game calls, toys...), percussion, invented instruments, voice)
One of the most active and eclectic musicians on the Canadian creative music scene, Jean Derome has managed to earn the recognition of a larger public, a rare feat in that field. Thanks to his large-scale musique actuelle projects, his compositions, his work as an improviser, his jazz groups and his music for the screen and the stage, Derome ranks as a major creative force, in Québec and abroad. He is experienced and innovative on both saxophone and flute, and his unique writing style cannot be mistaken for anyone else's. Sensitive and powerful, his music often features a funny strike that makes its complex nature more inviting.
Ever since Nébu (one of Québec's first avant-garde jazz groups) in the early '70s, Derome has been consistently renewing and diversifying his approach of composition. He impressed audience and critics first with the flute, then with the saxophone, as a lead character in the musique actuelle underground. He took part to the various artists' collectives looking for new ways to express themselves freely, without esthetic or social constraints, including the Ensemble de musique improvisée de Montréal. Later, in the early '80s, he co-founded Ambiances Magnétiques, a collective and record label that raised his profile at home and introduced his name to the outside world. Among his numerous projects, let us mention the duos Les Granules, Nous perçons les oreilles and Plinc! Plonc!, the dynamic group Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, and the large-scale projects Confitures de gagaku, Je me souviens - Hommage à Georges Perec and Canot-camping. Most of these projects are based on a unique form of synergy between composition, structured improvisation and genuine creative madness, all this articulated with unmatched playfulness. In 1992, Derome became the second artist to be presented with the Freddie Stone Award (bassist Lisle Ellis was the first).
Besides improvising on a regular basis with Ambiances Magnétiques' members and appearing in their projects, Derome has also shared the stage with several musicians of international stature, among others Fred Frith, Lars Hollmer, Louis Sclavis and Han Bennink. He performs regularly all over Canada, in the US and in Europe. He received a Prix Opus in 2001 for his exposure abroad.
Lately, jazz circles have been praising his undisputable qualities as a jazzman, thanks to the Thelonious Monk tribute project Évidence, the Normand Guilbeault Ensemble (whose Mingus Erectus CD is devoted to Charles Mingus' music), and the much-lauded Derome Guilbeault Tanguay Trio.
Although Jean Derome writes tirelessly for his own projects, he is much in demand in the fields of film, theatre and dance. A short list of this side of his work would have to include his numerous scores for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), especially for films by John Walker, Jacques Leduc, Fernand Bélanger and animated films by Pierre Hébert, Michèle Cournoyer and Jean Detheux; his incidental music for Théâtre UBU, Théâtre de Quat'Sous and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde; not forgetting his work with several top choreographers, including Louise Bédard, Andrew de Lotbinière Harwood, Daniel Soulières and Ginette Laurin. Other music ensembles have commissioned works from him, including Tuyo, Bradyworks, the Hard Rubber Orchestra from Vancouver and Fanfare Pourpour. Incidentally, Derome is the musical director of the latter.
Over thirty years of music and 70 record credits later, Jean Derome still has sleeves bursting with tricks."-ActuelleCD (http://www.actuellecd.com/en/bio/derome_je/)
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• Show Bio for Lori Freedman
"Lori Freedman. Born Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1958. Residence: Montréal, Québec. Composer, Performer (clarinet, bass clarinet)
Qualified as "a musical revolutionary in the front ranks of the avant-garde" by Alex Varty of the Georgia Straight (Vancouver), Lori Freedman (clarinets) is internationally recognized as one of the most creative and provocative performers. She is a member of a select group known as "renaissance musicians" as her artistic activities cover many fields: performer of written music (well over one hundred works have been written for or premiered by her), composer, improviser, teacher, and on occasion, writer. While managing a full performance schedule of more than 75 public appearances a year, Freedman has been receiving commissions to write music for ensembles such as Orkestra Futura, Arraymusic Ensemble, Ensemble Transmission, Continuum Contemporary Music Ensemble, Ensemble SuperMusique, Ensemble Paramirabo, Upstream Orchestra, Queen Mab Trio, Crowbar Trio, Lott Dance, Oberlander Films, Foresite Theatre, Cooke Productions and Autumn Leaf Productions. Her current discography comprises over 59 recordings, the most recent of which include Greffes (Empreintes digitales), On No (Mode Records), Bridge (Collection QB), Plumb (Barnyard Records), 3 and À un moment donné (Ambiances Magnétiques), Huskless! (Artifact), See Saw and Thin Air (Wig). Highlight collaborations include work with Rohan de Saram, Barre Phillips, Helmut Lachenmann, Frances-Marie Uitti, Monique Jean, Joëlle Léandre, Axel Dörner, George Lewis, the Jack Quartet and Richard Barrett."-ActuelleCD (http://www.actuellecd.com/en/bio/freedman_lo/)
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• Show Bio for Scott Thomson
"Scott Thomson is a trombonist and composer who lives in Montréal, having moved from Toronto in 2010. He plays in established groups in many styles, and prizes ad hoc improvising as a way to meet many creative people. He has studied with Roswell Rudd, Jean Derome, Eddie Prévost, and John Oswald. Scott is one of the founders of the Association of Improvising Musicians in Toronto (AIMToronto), and co-directs the AIMToronto Orchestra, which was formed for a project with Anthony Braxton in September 2007. While in Toronto, Scott was the artistic director of Somewhere There, a venue for live creative music that he founded in 2007. Scott has composed a series of site-specific pieces that he calls 'cartographic compositions' for mobile musicians and audiences in unconventional performance contexts, including works for the galleries and corridors of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario."-Bug Incision (http://www.bugincision.com/events-2014.html)
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• Show Bio for Joshua Zubot
"Joshua Zubot is a musician who spent his younger years honing his skills in the West. Gaining ground internationally, Josh toured with the former Barrage group from 1997-2002.
Moving to Montreal in 2003, Josh finished his BFA in Electroacoustic Studies after 4 years. In 2005, he produced his first solo album, Crouched Head, on the Drip Audio Label.
He now freelances full-time as a violinist. Mainly, Josh is a performer/composer fusing many means of styles through his violin. These styles range from somewhere in the middle of jazz, free jazz, avant garde, contemporary classical, folk, improvisational, rock and electronic.
Since then he has developped through the avant-garde scene in Montreal producing his own albums: Subtle Lip Can, Mendham, and Land of Marigold.
Over the last decade, Josh has played with numerous different groups and individuals. Some collaborations were with Chad VanGaalen, Lori Freedman, Patrick Watson, William Parker, Pierre-Yves Martel, Michael Blake, Bernard Falaise, Rainer Wiens, Michel F Coté, Sam Shalabi, Miles Perkin, Myra Melford, Marshall Allen, Fred Frith, Matana Roberts, Jean Derome, Malcom Goldstein, Pierre Tanguay, Martha Wainwright, John Butcher, to name a few.
Josh performed in the Mozg Festival (Poland),International Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Guelph Jazz Festival, X Avant New Music Festival L'Off Festival de Jazz de Montreal, Suoni Per Il Popolo, Sound Travels (Sound Art Festival in Toronto), Guelph Jazz Festival, Osheaga, Pop Montreal, NXNE, as well as numerous festival circuits in Europe."-Joshua Zubot Website (http://www.joshzubot.ca/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Guido Del Fabbro
"Guido Del Fabbro. Born Montréal, Québec, 1980. Residence: Montréal, Québec. Composer, Performer (violin, electronics).
Born in Montréal, 1980, Guido Del Fabbro started violin lessons at age four. His taste for improvisation and composition first manifested itself around 1990; since then, he has taken several classes and workshops related to these fields. Del Fabbro is co-founder, creator and composer of Mouvement de Musique Présente, a large ensemble of up-and-coming musicians devoted to scored and improvised music. He is also a member of the groups Fanfare Pourpour, Rouge ciel and Concorde Crash. For 18 months, he toured North America with Gilles Ste-Croix's horse circus Cheval-Théâtre. As a performer, he has recorded a few soundtracks for film, television, theatre and dance. As a composer, he has written music for choreographers Élodie Lombardo (Blou take two, Gelsomina) and Séverine Lombardo (Les Accords d'elles). Del Fabbro released his first solo album, Carré de sable, in 2003, on Ambiances Magnétiques. He can be heard on the latest albums by Tomás Jensen and Loco Locass. He is an accompanying multi-instrumentalist in Pierre Lapointe's show La forêt des mal-aimés."-ActuelleCD (http://www.actuellecd.com/en/bio/delfabbro_gu/)
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• Show Bio for Nicolas Caloia
"Nicolas Caloia. Born Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1968. Residence: Montréal, Québec. Performer (double bass).
Since 1990 Nicolas Caloia has worked at creating a contemporary music generated by using accurately composed textures to channel collective improvisation. The goal is a music that erases the lines between improvised and composed, pop and avant-garde, good and bad. He hopes this music will satisfy the body, the mind and, above all, the heart. He has worked as a performer, composer, and organizer in Montréal and has toured in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed and recorded in a vast array of contexts with the most important members of Montréal's creative music community as well as with internationally renowned musicians like the ICP orchestra, Marshall Allen, John Butcher, Joe McPhee, Steve Lacy, William Parker, Hassan Hakmoun, Tristan Honsinger and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. His concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. Currently, the majority of his work as a composer and improviser finds a voice in: The Ratchet Orchestra - a 30-piece big band; Tilting - the Nicolas Caloia Quartet, Ring - a sextet, Spell - a 10-piece marching band, Trephining - a quintet, Mercury - a duet Lori Freedman as well in solo performances."-ActuelleCD (http://www.actuellecd.com/en/bio/caloia_ni/)
^ Hide Bio for Nicolas Caloia
• Show Bio for Sam Shalabi
"Sam Shalabi is a central node in Montréal's free improv scene. One cannot count the many projects he is a part of. He is best known as a founding member of Shalabi Effect, who have recorded 2 albums on Alien8 Recordings which have earned the band extremely good response from critics and music enthusiasts alike. Apart from Shalabi Effect, he is also part of a number of bands, among which Detention, Molasses, Balai Mécanique, Po, 'Gypt Gore, and a trio with David Kristian and Alexandre St-Onge. He is also known for three solo albums, Luteness (Squint Fucker Press, deleted), On Haschisch (Alien8), and of course Osama, his investigation of arabophobia in a "post-9-11 world". His style ranges from freeform psychedelic rock to the most oddball abstract performance. Although mostly known as a guitarist, the highly versatile Shalabi also performs on oud and a variety of other instruments."-ElectroCD.com (http://www.electrocd.com/en/bio/shalabi_sa/)
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• Show Bio for Isaiah Ceccarelli
"Isaiah Ceccarelli. Born Chetwynd, British Columbia, Canada, 1978. Residence: Montréal, Québec. Composer, Performer (drum set, percussion).
Isaiah Ceccarelli is a drummer, improviser, and composer based in Montréal. His music has been qualified as "one of the most original approaches to come through our offices in recent times" (Marc Chénard, La Scena Musicale) and he has been described as possessing "a writing style with rare personality in this musical context" (Thierry Lepin, Jazzman Magazine). He participates in numerous creative music projects with Michel F Côté, Pierre-Yves Martel, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Bernard Falaise, Joshua Zubot and Philippe Lauzier, amongst others. He plays with Félix Stüssi and Ray Anderson, as well as with the Acadian singer Marie-Jo Thério. Proud ambassador of a new generation of creative musicians in Québec, his collaborations have led him on tour in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Isaiah has composed music for two of his own albums, Bréviaire d'épuisements and Lieux-dits (both on the Ambiances Magnétiques label), and for ensembles and musicians such as Quatuor Bozzini, Ensemble Allogène, the violist Jennifer Thiessen, and Ensemble Kô. He sings with the Schola Saint-Grégoire (Gregorian chant).
A seasoned musician and composer, Isaiah Ceccarelli is, in the words of Charles Collard from La Scena Musicale, "a jewel in the crown of the Montréal scene and his presence is felt on several fronts at the same time."-ActuelleCD (http://www.actuellecd.com/en/bio/ceccarelli_is/)
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• Show Bio for John Heward
"John Heward is a Montreal-based visual artist and one of the world's leading percussionist working in the field of contemporary music and avant jazz. Untitled and undated, Heward's recto-verso drawings can be hung on walls, placed on floors or suspended from ceilings. The objectivity is emphasized by the subjectivity of placement, intention and chance in a continuing of space/time. His work is seductively ambiguous in its imagery, often calligraphic in its markings and use of cultural forms, and resistant to definitive interpretation."-Paul Kuhn Gallery (http://www.paulkuhngallery.com/artists/john-heward/biography)
^ Hide Bio for John Heward
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Label: Drip Audio
Catalog ID: DA00820
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Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded at Hotel2Tango by Thierry Amar and David Payant on May 16th-18th, 2011.
Jean Derome-bass flute, piccolo
Gordon Krieger-bass clarinet
Cristopher Cauley-soprano saxophone
Louisa Sage-alto saxophone
Damian Nisenson-tenor saxophone
Jason Sharp-bass saxophone
Thea Pratt-E flat horn
Guido Del Fabbro-violin
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1. Winnow 5:45
2. Dusty 12:45
3. Yield 2:59
4. Wish - Part 1 5:03
5. Wish - Part 2 2:56
6. Kick 0:58
7. Safety 10:20
8. Hemlock - Part 1 5:30
9. Hemlock - Part 2 6:39