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Speed, Chris with Chris Tordini / Dave King: Really OK (Skirl)

New York reedist Chris Speed with his sax, bass and drums trio of Chris Tordini and Dave King, in a traditional mode performing original jazz numbers plus pieces by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, superb modern melodic jazz from 3 excellent players.

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product information:

UPC: 888295063067

Label: Skirl
Catalog ID: Skirl 024
Squidco Product Code: 18916

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: USA
Packaging: Skirl Digipack
Recorded August 7th and 8th, 2013 at The Terrarium in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Jason Orris.


Chris Speed-tenor saxophone

Chris Tordini-acoustic bass

Dave King-drums

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Artist Biographies:
"Chris Speed is a composer, clarinetist and saxophonist - and is "one of the principal figures in a dynamic left-of-center jazz/improv scene in the city" (NYTimes). His own bands include Endangered Blood, Human Feel, yeah NO, Trio Iffy, Pachora and The Clarinets. He is a founding member of Jim Black's Alas No Axis and John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet (two of the most influential working bands today), works with Uri Caine (deconstructing works by Mahler, Mozart, Bach, Schoenberg, Gershwin) and maintains a busy career of touring, recording, performing, composing, practicing and teaching. Current projects include work with Craig Taborn's Heroic Frenzies, Michael Formanek's Ensemble Kolossus, Dave King's Trucking Co., Matt Mitchell Quartet, Mary Halvorson's Reverse Blue, Banda de los Muertos (NYC's only Banda band), as well as touring his latest project, Endangered Blood (with Black, Trevor Dunn and Oscar Noriega) which was featured on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts in 2012. (Endangered Blood 2010, Work Your Magic 2013 Skirl). "Speed's Endangered Blood originals stand out as his most melodically generous, accessible and warm batch of compositions he's yet to produce." -DownBeat ****Born in 1967, Speed grew up in the Seattle area where he met future colleagues Jim Black and Andrew D'Angelo, all of whom ended up in Boston in the late 80's where they formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. (Scatter 1992, Welcome to Malpesta 1994, Speak To It 1996, Galore 2007). While in Boston he studied at New England Conservatory and graduated in 1990. By 1992, after a short tour with the Artie Shaw Band (led by Dick Johnson), Speed moved to New York City where he started working with Tim Berne's (now legendary touring band) Bloodcount. (Unwound 1996, Discretion 1997, Saturation Point 1997, The Seconds 2006).In April 2006, he launched Skirl Records, a label dedicated to Brooklyn based creative music" -Chris Speed Website (

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"Christopher Tordini is an in-demand bassist on the New York City music scene, where he performs with established jazz icons as well as a diverse range of emerging musicians. He has toured and recorded with Andy Milne's Dapp Theory for over 5 years, and has also played in bands led by other renowned artists such as Greg Osby and Jeremy Pelt. Tordini plays often with drummer Ari Hoenig, with the Becca Stevens Band, and is a key collaborator in projects led by drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey and trombonist/composer Michael Dessen. A graduate of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Tordini forged strong professional relationships with several faculty members there, including Rory Stuart and George Garzone, with whom he continues to collaborate. Recently, Tordini has performed and recorded with prominent bandleaders such as Steve Lehman, Okkyung Lee, Tigran Hamasyan, Jo-Yu Chen, Mike Pinto, Andrew D'Angelo, Jim Black, and Yaron Herman. He has played at New York City's most prestigious jazz venues, including the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard, Smalls, the Jazz Gallery and the Stone, among many others."

-Home Gift of Music (

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"Born 1970 Minneapolis MN
Studied piano and drums as a young person. Played in some amazing grade school, jr high school and high school bands and ensembles..............seriously ground breaking in approach and chart selection including a big band version of "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A" by John Mellancamp (formally known as John Cougar and John Cougar-Mellancamp).
Moved out east for a moment in 1989 when nyc still had barrel fires burning in lots that now house the American Apparel flagship store next to a place you can get a $7.00 espresso.
Moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to warm up a bit.
Was a couple of miles from the epicenter of the 1994 L.A. earthquake.
Decided that wasn't the place for me.
Moved back to Minneapolis.
Co founded Happy Apple.
Co founded Love-Cars.
Co founded Halloween, Alaska.
Joined 12Rods.
In 2000 co founded The Bad Plus in NYC.
Co founded The Gang Font featuring Greg Norton of punk icons Husker Du.
Have Performed music in 75 countries and 6 continents.
Have appeared on over 50 recordings.
Besides my working groups I have recorded and or performed with Bill Frisell, Joshua Redman, Dewey Redman. Jeff Beck. Tim Berne, Hank Roberts, Chris Speed, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Django Bates, Dead Prez, The Coup, Joe Lovano, Bill Carrothers, Anthony Cox, Chris Morrissey, Mason Jennings, Haley Bonar, Meat Beat Manifesto, Craig Taborn, Matt Mitchell, Matt Maneri, Benoit Delbeq, Craig Green, Jason Moran, Tchad Blake, David Torn, Donna Lewis, Atmosphere, and a few more great people.
I have also worked extensively with The Mark Morris Dance Group and with acclaimed fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi on his fashion week music and t.v. show music.
I have also recorded and composed for film including two films for animated film maker Tom Shroeder and 6 seconds of one of my drum beats is in the film "The Hot Chick" starring SNL icon Rob Schneider believe it or not."

-Dave King Website (

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track listing:

1. Really OK 6:10

2. All Of Me 7:08

3. Takedown 5:24

4. Nimble Demons 3:33

5. Argento 4:53

6. End Of The Day 4:44

7. Delaware 4:25

8. Round Trip 7:21

9. Tamborino 3:51

10. 26-2 5:20
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Multi-reed ace Chris Speed has long been beloved for the rich instrumental tones and improvisational flair he has brought to a host of New York's most creative bands since the early '90s, from vintage groups led by John Zorn, Tim Berne, Ben Perowsky and Uri Caine to current associations with John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, Jim Black's Alas No Axis and Curtis Hasselbring's New Mellow Edwards. Then there are Speed's own left-of-center outfits: Human Feel, Pachora, yeah NO, Trio IFFY, The Clarinets and the ever-popular Endangered Blood.

But Speed has now finally applied his artful sensibility to the classic jazz sax-bass-drums formation with his album Really OK. Released on March 11, 2014, via Skirl Records, the beautifully atmospheric Really OK features Speed on tenor saxophone alongside Chris Tordini on double-bass and Dave King (of the Bad Plus) on drums. Speed and company have waxed a brace of originals by the leader, along with tunes by Ornette Coleman ("Round Trip") and John Coltrane ("26-2") plus the standard "All of Me." Speed's compositions have always been marked by a beguiling lyricism even in "out" settings, with DownBeat praising his writing as "melodically generous, accessible and warm." He unspools earthy, laconic tunes galore on Really OK, from the full-on swing feel of the title track and deviantly catchy "Argento" to the playfully ruminative, folk-like "Tamborrino" and more. Although Speed is known for his alternative ethos and band-oriented mindset since he was a fixture on the Knitting Factory scene of the mid-'90s, the time felt natural for him to address jazz heritage more head on.

"I feel fortunate to have a band where I get to focus on swing and melody and song form, and still do it in our own way," he says. "There is an ideology today of either focusing only on your own individual vision of music or totally immersing yourself in the tradition and repertoire of the past - one or the other. But I want to do both."

Throughout Really OK, the saxophonist's rapport with Tordini and King sounds as if the three had spent years on the road together playing this subtly interactive trio music. "The chemistry with this band was fantastic from the get- go," Speed explains. "Chris and Dave have such a great groove together, I feel like an old-timer playing with them - which I love. " Speed first met King in 1999, when the drummer's band Happy Apple and Speed's yeah NO toured together.

The two musicians hit it off, and they have performed as a wonderfully combustible duo together. Speed has also made two albums as part of the Dave King Trucking Co. "Dave is a positive force, as a musician and person," Speed says. "His feel as a drummer is always so good, and as an improviser, he is so present and inventive. It's the same with Chris. He hears so much harmonically and rhythmically - it's inspiring to play with someone who's that talented and willing to dig in."

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Trio Recordings
Instant Rewards

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