NY pianist and composer Matt Mitchell's quartet with reedist Chris Speed, bassist Christopher Tordini, and drummer Dan Weiss for an album of long-form improvisation that reflects on jazz tradition while expanding the possibilities between composition and improvisation.
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Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: Pi 62
Squidco Product Code: 21264
Format: 2 CDs
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded At Systems Two Studios in Brooklyn, New York on January 8th and 9th, 2015 by Mike Marciano.
Matt Mitchell-piano, composer
Chris Speed-tenor saxophone, clarinet
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1. Select Your Existence 15:30
2. All the Elasticity 8:44
3. Numb Trudge 16:25
4. 'twouldn't've 8:40
1. Utensil Strength 16:48
2. Wearing The Wig Of Atrophy 7:49
3. Hyper Pathos 10:01
4. The Damaged Center 12:29
Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music
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sample the album:
"Matt Mitchell, a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Doris Duke Impact Award, is one of the most in-demand pianists in jazz. As a member of Tim Berne's Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, and the Darius Jones Quartet, among many others, he has played an integral role on a number of the most critically-acclaimed releases of the last few years. Highly regarded for bringing contemporary classical music influences to his playing, his debut as a leader, Fiction (Pi 2013), a duo with drummer Ches Smith, was described by All About Jazz as "... huge quantities of brain candy, akin to a shot of adrenaline that will keep the willing listener on the edge of his or her seat."
His new release, Vista Accumulation, spends much of its time contemplating the jazz tradition while continuing to expand on possibilities for interaction between composition and improvisation. While Fiction mostly included short pieces that were originally conceived as etudes to expand Mitchell's pianistic facilities, the compositions on Vista Accumulation - eight of them spread out over two CDs - use longer forms. They flow with a narrative arc, constantly unfolding, alternately worrying over small repetitive gestures before expanding to wide vistas. The detailed music consists as much of continuous, constantly evolving collective playing as it does a succession of solos. It has the feel of contemporary classical music, with references to Morton Feldman and Harrison Birtwistle, and yet there are several ballad-like moments, as well as fractured echoes of the blues. The New York Times, who in 2011 named him one of "four young jazz pianists on the rise," calls the music "... a bold signature for [Mitchell] as a composer and bandleader, one rooted in avant-garde traditions that encompass not only improvising pianists like Andrew Hill and Keith Jarrett but also classical modernists like Anton Webern and Charles Ives."
The music is performed by his quartet, made up of some of the most respected musicians on New York's cutting-edge jazz scene: Chris Speed produces a soft timbre on tenor saxophone that harkens back to Lester Young and a gorgeous tone on clarinet while playing with a thoroughly modern sensibility. One of the under-sung heroes of jazz, he co-leads the bands Endangered Blood, Pachora and Human Feel, while also playing in John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet and Craig Taborn's quartet, as well as formerly Tim Berne's Bloodcount. Bassist Chris Tordini - who has appeared on the Pi Recordings releases Oblique I (2011) and Alloy (2014) from drummer Tyshawn Sorey - plays with a huge, warm tone and an insightful ability to act as the glue for all the music's parts. Drummer Dan Weiss - who released his own critically acclaimed Fourteen on Pi in 2014 and plays with the likes of Rudresh Mahanthappa, Lee Konitz, and Dave Binney - plays with great spontaneity and a highly varied compositional sense. Mitchell's own supremely inventive playing encompasses a wide vocabulary of influences that are impossible to pinpoint. Paying unusual attention to dynamics of touch and exhibiting his hallmark of rhythmic and harmonic convolution, every one of his solos is the sound of constant surprise.
Sometimes one gets the best sense of a musician from talking to his peers. Asked why he invited Mitchell to join his Bird Calls band for his eponymously-named album that was voted #1 Best Album of 2014 in the Downbeat Critics Poll, alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa said "Matt is one of the most versatile and original voices on the piano of this decade. He has digested the entire jazz tradition whole and synthesized that with a far-reaching knowledge of all musical genres. He is an unstoppable force who will continue to shape this music well into the future." Drummer and composer John Hollenbeck on why Mitchell is in so many of his bands: "Since I'm often trying new things, I often run into musicians saying 'I can't do that,' 'this is not possible,' etc. I'm looking for people who say, 'Let me try this!' Matt Mitchell is this type of musician. He loves challenges and plays up to them consistently. He is creating a new level of musicianship for his fellow pianists to contend with."
Etched with lyricism and emotion, Vista Accumulation affords a whole new view on Mitchell's musical mastery."-Pi Recordings
• Show Bio for Matt Mitchell
"Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Caroline Davis, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Sylvaine Hélary, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss, and Katie Young.
He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne's Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, Jonathan Finlayson's Sicilian Defense, Dan Weiss's Large Ensemble, Steve Coleman's Natal Eclipse, the Darius Jones Quartet, Kate Gentile's Mannequins, Mario Pavone's Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber's Simple Trio, Ches Smith's We All Break, Michael Attias' Spun Tree, Ohad Talmor's Grand Ensemble, and Quinsin Nachoff's Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn's Bagatelles.
Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Jon Irabagon, Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet + 1, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green's Apex, Rez Abbasi's Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi's Baida Quartet, Dave King's Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.
He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage."-Matt Mitchell Website (http://www.mattmitchell.us/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Chris Speed
"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 (http://chrisspeed.com/bio/)
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