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The Chicago trio of Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Paul Giallorenzon on keys, and Frank Rosaly on drums, performing a joyful album of lyrical jazz, blending compositions and free playing with modern creative skills and unpredictable, enthusiastic soloing; superb!

Hearts & Minds (Stein / Giallorenzo / Rosaly)
Hearts & Minds [VINYL]

Hearts & Minds (Stein / Giallorenzo / Rosaly): Hearts & Minds [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Label: Astral Spirits    
Released in: USA    

"Jason Stein/Paul Giallorenzo/Frank Rosaly: Hearts & Minds When the Chicago trio of Jason Stein, Paul Giallorenzo, and Frank Rosaly, known as Hearts & Minds, plays music Sun Ra smiles from somewhere interplanetary. Not that the mighty Ra favored small groups, he mostly worked with his large Arkestra, rather, it's that the wellspring for this 21st century music are his concepts and instrumentation. Sun Ra's saxophonist John Gilmore, then later Robert Cummings, employed a bass clarinet as Jason Stein does here. Drummer Frank Rosaly juggles varied and complex rhythms, plus applies electronics. Keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo does as well, playing synthesizer and the vintage E-pianet, an electro-mechanical piano.

Chicago is a prime location for Hearts & Minds. From the 1940s through 1960, Ra's concepts on futurism and music bloomed on the South Side as he resolved that space was the place. The mayhem of the opening track "Stocky" clangs overblown bass clarinet against fevered and frenetic drumming and the electric jabs and blips of keyboard sorcery. The trio, having caught your attention, dives deeper, mixing composed passages with sometime barely repressible passages. The trawling "Rocked And Eroded" stakes itself to the memory of Eric Dolphy's sound on Out To Lunch! (Blue Note, 1964), with Stein marching notes to the odd meter of Rosaly's gallop.

We have, though, come a ways since the days of Dolphy. The trio turns to the pinwheeling of electronics with "An Unfortunate Lack Of Role;" Giallorenzo's e-pianet forcing glints and flashes of current as re-entry sounds over Rosaly's swarming sounds on every percussive surface at hand. The trio is fond of starting a piece like "Streaming" with a solid melody and groove, breaking into concise Stein and Giallorenzo solos. Other times, as on "Nick Masonry," they work from just a sketch only to pick up steam and melody. Mostly they are fans of a glorious degeneration, you might call improvisation, but we'll call interstellar entropy."-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

"Sometimes it's dumb fun to think up impossible supergrouops. Maybe they help you imagine a sound you've never considered, a combination of histories and vectors that contradicts those that might be steered by normal forces, such as geography or genre or circle of colleagues. A parlor game designed to transcend time and place.

Here's one: John Carter, Bernard Parmegiani, Mike Ratledge and Tony Williams. Think of the possibilities, Ratledge offers fudgy bass keyboards, circa 1970, Soft Machine's Third, while Williams alternately takes to the breeze with a swift swinging ride or breaks things up restructurally, a wooden metronome or one-man marching band. On clarinet, Carter gulps and whorls his way into an appealing alternate temporal-spatial framework, the one occupied and charted by Parmegiani, who, from the INA-GRM soundboard dubs the proceedings into electroacoustic ladyland. I'd love to hear it: free-prog-jazz-concrete.

In this case, the dream group's inspiration came the other direction, rather than imagining something fictional, from listening to Hearts and Minds. Not to suggest that they sound like an additive experiment in mix-and-matchery, quite the contrary, they're a singularly original unit. But unusual forces are at play, unique combinatorics, suggesting a confluence of ideas, newly directed teleologies, a turbulent eddy in the natural flow of creative music's waterway.

The collective's eponymous debut emanates from an eight year incubation, sporadic and occasionally intensive gigging resulting in the accretion of a songbook, featuring tunes and structures divided about equally between the bass-clarinetist Jason Stein and keyboardist and synthesizer player Paul Giallorenzo. Stein and Giallorenzo have known each other since they were tweens on Long Island; both based in Chicago, they're long established members of the creative music community, key figures in the wave of players attracted to the city in the early aughts. From the drum-kit, also handling electronics, another stalwart Chicagoan, the indominable Frank Rosaly (originally from Phoenix, Arizona, for listeners with a scorecard) plots and plies, sculpting definite shape out of biomorphisms.

What conjures the strange amalgam of superheroes is Hearts and Minds' gleeful trapezing between sound and swing. It feels classically Chicagoan in a couple of senses. First, there are the compositions, which have a tough and playful attitude that I associate with other great working groups of the millieu. Take the cued interjections against synth solo on "An Unfortunate Lack of Role Models." And the notion that an erstwhile instrumentalist can also deal with electronics - analog or digital, synthesized or lap-topped, either way - is a natural thought in the Windy City, from the Chicago Underground Duo to Tortoise to Sam Prekop.

Rosaly can color things acoustically and electronically with equal aplomb; in his hands, pots and pans can mean kitchen sink percussion or potting and panning a mixing board. Giallorenzo may call to mind Sun Ra's home recordings on Wurlitzer electric piano, a humble sonority, simple and unadorned, almost chime-like, but just as well he can put pedal to metal and kick the vehicle into overdrive. As the lone un-electrified member of the threesome, Stein calls on his thorough understanding of the longhorn's overtones, as well as a post-bop melodicism that can hit the nursery ("Three for One"), the laboratory ("Old Balance"), the library ("Streaming"), and the barnyard ("Stocky"). If my free-music fantasy football team had four members, perhaps that's because Hearts and Minds seems to have an extra contributor, an x-factor, the invisible participant who throws something unexpected into the salad. I have no idea who introduces the played-backwards sounds in "Irresolute," but I love the way they complicate Rosaly's brushwork, which can have a reverse-tracked quality of its own. Soul and rock elements are not quotational, more chromosomal - a mean synth tone, the Zigaboo Modaliste hits and "Rocket Number Nine" quirk of "Rocked and Eroded," or even just the title "Nick Masonry." Oblique prog, my kinda pop.

Best outcome in a game like ours, daydreaming about a theoretical ensemble: one already exists that exceeds these fantasies. A band that overtakes any presumptions, shaking them up, not playing by the book, appealing to the intellect and getting us in the gut. Winning Hearts and Minds."-John Corbett, Grand Marais, MI August 2016.

Biography for: Jason Stein

"Jason Stein was born in 1976 and is originally from Long Island, New York. Stein is one of the few musicians working today to focus entirely on the bass clarinet as a jazz and improvisational instrument. He studied at Bennington College with Charles Gayle and Milford Graves, and at the University of Michigan with Donald Walden and Ed Sarath. In 2005, Stein relocated to Chicago and has since recorded for such labels as Leo, Delmark, Atavistic, 482 Music and Clean Feed. Stein has performed throughout the US and Europe, including performances in festivals in Lisbon, Cracow, Utrecht, Barcelona, Debreccen and Ljubljana. He has had the opportunity to perform with a number of exciting local and international musicians including: Michael Moore, Jeff Parker, Oscar Noriega, Rudi Mahall, Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek, Jeb Bishop, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Urs Leimgruber, Pandelis Karayorgis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Tony Buck, Eric Boren, Kent Kessler, Tobias Delius, Michael Zerang, Michael Vatcher, Peter Brotzman, and Wilbert DeJoode."

-Jason Stein Website (

Biography for: Paul Giallorenzo

"Orginally from Long Island NY, Paul Giallorenzo is a Chicago-based improviser, composer, and producer using piano, synthesizer, keyboards, and electronics in a wide variety of groups and contexts, ranging from jazz and improvised music to electro-acoustic / noise to sound and video performance. Performing throughout the midwest, eastern US, Canada, Europe, Brazil. Has appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, WNUR Chicago Sounds Jazzfest, Glad Cloud Festival of Ambient Music at the Whistler, and a 2008 artist residency in Luzern, Switzerland.

Presenter, organizer, co-founder of the music venue/art gallery Elastic, producing hundreds of creative music concerts and events in Chicago since 2001."

-Paul Giallorenzo Website (

Biography for: Frank Rosaly

"Frank Rosaly (Francisco Javier Rosaly Amoros Rosello - b. 5/30/74 Phoenix, AZ) is a drummer and composer living in Chicago. He has been involved in the improvised and experimental music community since 2001 where he has become an integral part of Chicago's musical fabric, navigating a fine line between the vibrant improvised music, experimental, rock and jazz communities. He contributes much of his time to performing, composing, teaching, as well as organizing musical events, while also touring regularly domestically and internationally.

Frank is currently active in many projects throughout Chicago as well as New York and in Europe. Some groups include Bobby Bradford/Frode Gjerstad Quartet, Matana Robert's Chicago Project, Rob Mazurek's Mandarin Movie, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten Quintet, Scorch Trio, Nicole Mitchell Ice Crystal Quartet, Jason Stein Quartet, Jeff Parker/Nels Cline Quartet, Josh Abrams' Natural Information Society, Fred Lonberg-Holm's Valentine Trio, Keefe Jackson's Project Project, The Fast Citizens, The Jeb Bishop Trio, Jason Adasievicz's Rolldown, Jorrit Dijkstra's Flatlands Collective, Chicago Lucern Exchange, Hearts and Minds, Slow Cycle, Outskirts, Darren Johnston's Chicago Quintet, Anchor and others."

-Frank Rosaly Website (

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Shipping Weight: 16.00 units

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Product Information:

Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS026
Squidco Product Code: 22554

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Minbal Studios on September 3rd, 2014 by Cooper Crain.


Jason Stein-bass clarinet

Paul Giallorenzo-synthesizer, E Pianet

Frank Rosaly-drums, electronics

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Track Listing:

Side A

1. Stocky

2. Rocked And Eroded

3. The Western Situation

4. Three For One

5. An Unfortunate Lack Of Role Models

Side B

1. Streaming

2. Nick Masonry

3. Irresolute

4. Old Balance