Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser pays tribute to clarinetist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, in a quartet with Russ Lossing on piano & keys, Drew Gress on double bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums, merging Giuffre's lyrical forms to create new and innovative compositions.
Released in: Great Britain
"Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser in a tribute to US clarinettist and composer Jimmy Giuffre. Intentionally blurring the boundaries between jazz, blues, free improvisation and contemporary classical, along with an ear for strong melody, Blaser is a musician who seeks to widen the musical scope of his instrument while retaining its tonal identity.
His own playing is rooted in classical training and with beginnings in blues and swing he gained a scholarship to study in the United States. His early penchant for breaking free of constraints has resulted in a number of successful collaborations, most notably with his established, trusted quartet of Russ Lossing (piano/keyboards), Drew Gress (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).
Following an already impressive back-catalog - most recently his informed interpretation of works by medieval composer Guillame de Machaut (Consort in Motion: A Mirror to Machaut, 2013) - on Spring Rain Blaser takes the melodic focus and considerable but perhaps lesser-known output of Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) to inspire new compositions and interpretations which bristle with spontaneity and invention.
Possessing a lyrical tone as well as a mastery of multiphonics (often achieving extraordinary, gritty results with these carefully-crafted embouchured/sung clusters), Blaser duels with the myriad keyboard colors of Lossing (including Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes and Minimoog), driven by intuitive, intelligent bass and drums.
Artistically directed by the renowned Robert Sadin (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Sting), Blaser's latest expression as a leader revels in the possibility of free improvisation which emanates as much from the influence of Stravinsky and Morton Feldman as it does high-grooving swing and blues. The diversity of the album is exemplified by the unpredictable, increasing tumult of "Missing Mark Suetterlyn", the breezy almost Ellingtonian swing of "Temporarily", the dark Bartokian spaciality of "Umbra" and then riotous, improv-fusion-spirited "The First Snow".
Blaser thrives on continually developing and communicating new expressions in improvisation, keen for audiences to discover and appreciate the trombone in other forms. Spring Rain clearly displays that intent with an immersive soundworld which rewards with deeper understanding.
He explains: "With this album I would like to show that the trombone can be melodic and have various forms of expression, and that I am not just interested in free jazz - you can't categorize my music in one space. I want people to know that there is jazz, blues, classical music, beautiful melodies and no boundaries."-Whirlwind
• Show Bio for Drew Gress
"Drew Gress (born November 20, 1959) is an American jazz double-bassist and composer born in Trenton, New Jersey, raised in the Philadelphia area, and currently based in New York City.
Gress became interested in jazz and the double bass while a teenager, joining the Pennsbury Concert Jazz Band, a nationally-prominent high school jazz ensemble, in 1975, spending two years as bassist and arranger for the group. His interest in composing original material for large ensembles, such as those of Johnny Richards, Billy May, and Pat Williams, led him to Baltimore's Towson State University in 1977, where he studied composition and counterpoint with Hank Levy, known for his work with Don Ellis and Stan Kenton. While at Towson, Gress established a playing relationship with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, with whom he cofounded Joint Venture with Paul Smoker and Phil Haynes. They released three albums on Enja Records between 1987 and 1994.
During the 1980s in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, he played with Sonny Stitt, Clifford Jordan, Albert Dailey, Mose Allison, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, and pianist Marc Copland, with whom he still plays today. He also served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, Towson State University, and the Baltimore School for the Arts. He formed a quartet, Tekke, in 1989 with David Kane, Glenn Cashman, and Michael Smith.
In 1997, he cofounded the cooperative improvising trio Paraphrase with saxophonist/composer Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Together, they pursued a compositional approach to free improvisational practice. They recorded three live albums together and toured extensively.
In 1998, he released his first album as leader, Heyday, with his band Jagged Sky (featuring David Binney, Ben Monder, and Kenny Wollesen). 2001 saw the release of Spin & Drift with Uri Caine, Berne, and Rainey, in which he played pedal steel guitar for the first time.
Earlier in the 1990s, he served tenures as artist in residence at University of Colorado-Boulder and at Russia's St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Since 1992, Gress has maintained an extensive touring schedule, traveling to Europe, Asia, and South America. Those with whom he has and continues to work include Tim Berne, Ravi Coltrane, Uri Caine, John Hollenbeck, Fred Hersch, Marc Copland, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Jack DeJohnette, John Surman, Ray Anderson, Erik Friedlander, Kenny Werner, Bill Carrothers, Ralph Alessi, Tony Malaby, Steve Lehman, and Edsel Gomez. To date, he has appeared on over 140 recordings, 4 of which have received Grammy nominations.
Gress' own ensembles have toured Europe four times since 2002, in addition to isolated festival appearances in Italy and Portugal. In 2004, the UK's BBC Radio and London's Guardian selected his quartet's live radio broadcast as Jazz Concert of the Year.
Composition awards include an NEA grant (1990), funding from Meet the Composer (2003), a Chamber Music America New Works Grant (2005), a CMA French-American Exchange Grant (2007), and an Encore Grant from that same organization (2008). He continues to compose for larger groups and has begun experimenting with virtual synthesizers."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Gress)
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• Show Bio for Gerald Cleaver
"Gerald Cleaver (born May 4, 1963) is an African-American jazz drummer from Detroit, Michigan. Cleaver's father is drummer John Cleaver Jr., originally from Springfield, Ohio, and his mother was from Greenwood, Mississippi. Gerald had six older siblings. Cleaver joined the jazz faculty at the University of Michigan in 1995. He has performed or recorded with Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Roscoe Mitchell, Miroslav Vitou , Michael Formanek, Tomasz Sta ko, Franck Amsallem and others.
Under the name Veil of Names, Cleaver released an album called Adjust on the Fresh Sounds New Talent label in 2001. It featured Maneri, Ben Monder, Andrew Bishop, Craig Taborn and Reid Anderson and was a Best Debut Recording Nominee by the Jazz Journalists Association. Cleaver currently leads the groups Uncle June, Black Host, Violet Hour and NiMbNl as well as working as a sideman with many different artists."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Cleaver_(musician))
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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music
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Catalog ID: WHI-CD-4670
Squidco Product Code: 20865
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Tracks 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12 recorded at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey on January 3rd and 4th, 2014 by Dave Darlington.
Tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 10 recorded at Teldex Studio in Berlin, Germany on December 19th, 2014 by Tobias Lehmann.
Russ Lossing-piano, Fender rhodes, wurlitzer, minimoog
Drew Gress-double bass
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1. Cry Want 4:08
2. Missing Mark Suetterlyn 5:40
3. Temporarily 3:47
4. Homage 1:07
5. Umbra 2:12
6. The First Snow 3:45
7. Scoottin' About 2:24
8. Trudgin' 5:29
9. Spring Rain 5:39
10. Trippin' 3:47
11. Counterparts 3:22
12. Jesus Maria 8:01