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Legendary UK free-jazz guitarist Ray Russell meets California avant guitarist Henry Kaiser to explore celestial squids with drummers Weasel Walter & William Winant, bassists Michael Manring & Damon Smith, and saxophonists Steve Adams, Joshua Allen, Phillip Greenlief, and Aram Shelton.
 

Kaiser, Henry & Ray Russell
The Celestial Squid

Kaiser, Henry & Ray Russell: The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform)

Label: Cuneiform    
Released in: USA    


"Guitar summits don't ascend higher than when legendary British free-jazz pioneer and longtime session ace Ray Russell meets the brilliant California avant-improv overachiever and Antarctic diver Henry Kaiser in the realm of The Celestial Squid. With more than countless session and soundtrack performances to his credit, including the early James Bond film scores, Russell is returning to his bone-rattling, noise-rocking roots for the first time since the very early 70s. You'll be shaken and stirred as Kaiser, Russell and eight super friends deliver a no-holds-barred, free-range sonic cage match.

Russell created some of the early '70s' most outrageously outside music, releasing hallmark works of guitar shock-and-awe. Russell's "stabbing, singing notes and psychotic runs up the fretboard have nothing to do with scalular architecture," wrote All Music's Thom Jurek, "but rather with viscera and tonal exploration." Russell anticipated the wildest and most intrepid vibrations of Terje Rypdal, Dave Fuzinski, Sonic Youth, Keiji Haino, Tisziji Muoz and their boundary-dissolving ilk. Russell is hardly a niche performer, though. Untold millions of music and film fans have actually, if unknowingly, already enjoyed Russell's riffs at least if they saw any of the James Bond films that John Barry scored, beginning with Dr. No in 1962.

For over 40 years, Russell would not make such exploratory music until West Coast guitar experimentalist Henry Kaiser called him out of the blue and asked if he would be interested in co-leading an ensemble in the style of his '71 masterpiece, Live at the ICA: June 11th 1971. Russell was surprised and delighted by the offer, and readily accepted. Why had he waited so long to once again explore the free-jazz spaceways you might well wonder? Simple no one had asked him to do so!

So on April 12, 2014, Henry Kaiser and Ray Russell along with drummers Weasel Walter and William Winant, bassists Michael Manring (electric) and Damon Smith (acoustic), and saxophonists Steve Adams, Joshua Allen, Phillip Greenlief, and Aram Shelton entered Berkeley, California's Fantasy Studios for a day-long session that resulted in The Celestial Squid, a nearly eighty-minute embryonic journey through the deepest waters and most cosmic heights of improvised music. Except for melodic heads and compositional structures, everything on The Celestial Squid is improvised, down to some astonishing extemporaneous horn arrangements. While The Celestial Squid echoes the raw energy and youthful bravado of Russell's earliest achievements, this music synergizes the combined power and imagination of all ten of these musical masters into a force to be reckoned with."-Cuneiform Records



"Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon's explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson's Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra's Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and five great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn, Damon will move to the Boston area in the fall of 2016. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians."

-Balance Point Acoustic Website (https://www.balancepointacoustics.com/damon-smith/)
2/22/2017

"In 2016, Winant was awarded a large unrestricted grant from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in recognition for his groundbreaking work as a contemporary percussionist. In 2014 he received a Grammy nomination for his recording of John Cage's historic solo work, 27' 10.554" for a percussionist, on Micro Fest Records.

He has collaborated with some of the most innovative and creative musicians of our time, including John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Frank Zappa, Keith Jarrett, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Terry Riley, Cecil Taylor, Gerry Hemingway, Mark Dresser, Barry Guy, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Steve Reich and Musicians, Nexus, Charles Wuorinen, Jean-Philippe Collard, Frederic Rzewski, Ursula Oppens, Joan LaBarbara, Annea Lockwood, Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo, Sonic Youth, Marc Ribot, Keith Rowe, Joey Barron, Bill Frisell, Yo-Yo Ma, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, and the Kronos String Quartet.

He has recorded and toured worldwide with his own groups including ROOM, w/Chris Brown and Larry Ochs, CHALLENGE, w/Anthony Braxton and David Rosenboom, WAKE, w/Frank Gratkowski and Chris Brown, the ABEL/STEINBERG/WINANT TRIO, and the WILLIAM WINANT PERCUSSION GROUP.

He is principal percussionist with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, he has been closely associated with NYC composer John Zorn, and has made numerous recordings, and performed in many projects throughout the world with the composer. Starting in 1995 he has been the percussionist with the avant-rock band Mr. Bungle, has made two recordings ("Disco Volante" and "California" on Warner Brothers), and has toured throughout the world with this group. For many years he had worked with composer Lou Harrison, recording and premiering many of his works, and in March of 1997 he participated in the world premiere of Lou Harrison's quintet "Rhymes with Silver" featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and has toured the piece throughout the United States and Great Britain.

In the fall of 2011, he joined Mike Patton's Italian pop music project "Mondo Cane" which features a 12 piece band + string orchestra, and have recently completed tours of South America and Australia.

In the fall of 2003, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mr. Winant, along with composers Takehisa Kosugi and Christian Wolff, created music for a series of eight special "Events" staged by Merce Cunningham and Dancers at London's Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. Winant continued to tour throughout Europe and the United States with the dance company until 2009

He has made over 200 recordings, covering a wide variety of genres, including music by Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, John Zorn, Butch Morris, James Newton, Frank Gratkowski, Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Danny Elfman ("Batman Returns"), Siouxse and the Banshees, Secret Chiefs 3, ICP, Han Bennik, The Ex, White Out with Jim O'Rourke, Lou Reed, Thurston Moore, and Mike Patton.

[...]

Mr. Winant has premiered many new works written specifically for him, by such noted composers as John Cage, Christian Wolff, Lou Harrison, John Zorn, Zeena Parkins, Bun-Ching Lam, Barbara Monk Feldman, Hi-Kyung Kim, Roscoe Mitchell, Wendy Reid, Ralph Shapey, Peter Garland, Michael Byron, Paul Dresher, Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, Chris Brown, David Rosenboom, Larry Polansky, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Terry Riley, Fred Frith, Somei Satoh, and Wadada Leo Smith.

Mr. Winant has been featured as a guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (under the direction of Pierre Boulez), the San Francisco Symphony, and the Berkeley Symphony (Kent Nagano, director), as well as at Cabrillo Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Festival, Central Park Summerstage, Ravinia Festival, Salzburg Festival, Donaueschingen Festival, Victoriaville, Holland Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Ojai Festival, Sonar Festival, All Tomorrow's Parties, Taklos, Other Minds Festival, Lincoln Center, Melt Down Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Library of Congress, The Barbican, The Kennedy Center, Paris Opera, Disney Hall, Miller Theater Composer Portraits Series, Merkin Hall, Guggenheim Museum, and Brooklyn Academy of Music.

For ten years he was principal percussionist with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra (Dennis Russell Davies, director), and timpanist with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra 1985-1988 (Nicholas McGegan, director).

He is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and teaches at Mills College and the University of California at Berkeley. For eight years Mr. Winant was Artist-in-Residence at Mills College with the critically acclaimed Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio. Formed in 1984, the ASW Trio has premiered over 25 new works for violin, piano, and percussion at major festivals and recitals throughout the world. Their recordings can be heard on the New Albion, Tzadik, and CRI/New World labels."

-William Winant Website (http://williamwinant.com/#section1)
2/22/2017

"Weasel Walter (real name Walter Wyzowski) is a composer and instrumentalist who founded the band The Flying Luttenbachers in Chicago in 1991 with a current member of Cellular Chaos and Behold...The Arctopus. Over the years, The Flying Luttenbachers included noted Dylan Posa, and Michael Colligan, while creating a body of music drawing equally from no wave, death metal, gamelan, noise music, hardcore punk and modern classical. Walter moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, where he formed the latest of many Luttenbachers lineups, remaining on percussion with the addition of bassist Mike Green (Burmese), and virtuoso guitarist Ed Rodriguez (ex-Colossamite, Gorge Trio). Singular guitar phenomenon Mick Barr (Krallice, Octis, Orthrelm) joined the group in 2005. The Flying Luttenbachers ceased to operate in late 2007. On November 25, 2009, Weasel Walter announced that he was moving to New York City to join the band Behold... The Arctopus on drums and will be writing "new, more extreme material from scratch." He also formed Cellular Chaos with Marc Edwards (drummer), Admiral Grey and Ceci Moss."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_Walter)
2/22/2017

"Steve Adams has appeared on more than fifty recordings, and has six recordings as leader or co- leader on the 9 Winds and Clean Feed labels, the latest of them being Surface Tension by the Steve Adams Trio.

Steve has performed the premieres of numerous classical compositions, including Prisoner of Love by Robert Aldridge for soprano saxophone and piano, Thomas Oboe Lee's Saxxologie... A Sextet for saxophone sextet and Louie MCMLV for saxophone quartet, and Passing Time by Jon Nelson for tenor saxo¬phone and computer-generated tape. He performed Edmund Campion's Corail for saxophone and computer generated electronics with the Berkeley Symphony and at the Ojai Music Festival. Steve has performed Darius Milhaud's Scaramouche and Pauline Oliveros' Outline for Double Bass, Flute, and Percussion at Mills College. He was a member of the 25th Anniversary performance of Terry Riley's In C, which was released on New Albion.

Steve has written more than fifty compositions for saxophone quartet, as well as many others for varied instrumentations. His piece Cage (for John Cage) was performed at the 1993 Bang on a Can festival, and his piece The Gene Pool was commissioned by Meet the Composer and performed at their festival "The Works" in Minneapolis in 2002. His composition Owed t'Don was recorded by the violin/marimba duo Marimolin on their CD Phantasmata . In recent years, Steve has begun creating graphic scores, now numbering more than 40. Steve has also written for theater, having composed scores for seven productions at the California Shakespeare Festival. He received a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2000 and a Meet the Composer grant in 1993, and teaches at Mills College. Steve is a graduate of the School of Contemporary Music in Brookline, MA and studied composition with Alan Crossman, Christopher Yavelov and Thomas Oboe Lee, saxophone with David Birkin and Indian music with Peter Row and Steve Gorn. "

-Rova:Arts (http://www.rova.org/about-us/steve-adams.html)
2/22/2017





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Improvised Music
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Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Cuneiform
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Price: $14.95
In Stock


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Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

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Product Information:

UPC: 045775040325

Label: Cuneiform
Catalog ID: CUN-CD-403
Squidco Product Code: 20307

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded Live at Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, in April 2014.

Personnel:

Henry Kaiser-guitar

Ray Russell-guitar

Damon Smith-double bass

William Winant-drums

Weasel Walter-drums

Michael Manring-electric bass

Aram Shelton-saxophone

Joshua Allen-saxophone

Phillip Greenlief-saxophone

Steve Adams-saxophone

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Track Listing:

1. Gukten Limpo 9:08

2. In Another Life 9:12

3. That Darn Squid 12:44

4. The Enumeration 13:34

5. Victims 8:50

6. Disinterested Bystander 10:45

7. Construction #14 15:34