Rova leader Larry Ochs takes his Sax and Drumming Core to the next level with this charged album of mind-bending free improvisation with an hallucinatory edge, joined by Libra artists Satoko Fujii on piano & synth and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, with Scott Amendola on drums, William Winant and Matthias Bossi on a wild set of percussive instruments.
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Catalog ID: ROG-0075
Squidco Product Code: 24331
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, in June, 2011, by Adam Munoz.
Larry Ochs-tenor saxophone, sopranino saxophone
Satoko Fujii-piano, synthesizer
Scott Amendola-drums, percussion, electronics
Matthias Bossi-thunder drum, Chinese gongs, shaky flotsam, percussion
William Winant-timpani, roto toms, percussion
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1. Omenicity (For Julie Taymor) 23:15
2. A Sorcer's Fate 9:13
3. Wild Red Yellow (For David Cronenberg) 22:38
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Percussion & Drums
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"Despite a well-documented incident where Larry Ochs was legally challenged for inflicting psychological damage on a festival goer who'd been expecting "jazz" (it's a great modern parable), he doesn't have quite that confrontational a vision. Likewise Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, who have embraced populism as well as the avant-garde. This isn't music that furrows the brow, but it is not without challenge and its greatest challenge is that it delivers rich complexities as natural forms and allows us to inhabit them for extended periods. This music doesn't take time; it creates time and suspends our usual functional attitude to it."-Brian Morton, liner notes
• Show Bio for Larry Ochs
"Larry Ochs (b. May 3, 1949, New York City) is an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Ochs studied trumpet briefly but concentrated on tenor and sopranino saxophones. He worked as a record producer and founded his own label, Metalanguage Records, in 1978, in addition to operating the Twelve Stars studio in California. He co-founded the Rova Saxophone Quartet, and also worked in Glenn Spearman's Double Trio. A frequent recipient of commissions, he composed the music for the play Goya's L.A. by Leslie Scalapino in 1994 and for Letters Not About Love, which was named best documentary film at SXSW in 1998. He has also played in a new music trio called Room and the What We Live ensemble. He has recorded several albums as a leader. He formed the group Kihnoua in 2007 with vocalist Dohee Lee and Scott Amendola on drums and electronics, which released Unauthorized Caprices in 2010. He is married to the poet Lyn Hejinian."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Ochs_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Natsuki Tamura
"Japanese trumpeter and composer Natsuki Tamura is internationally recognized for a unique musical vocabulary that blends extended techniques with jazz lyricism. This unpredictable virtuoso's seemingly limitless creativity led François Couture in All Music Guide to declare that "... we can officially say there are two Natsuki Tamuras: The one playing angular jazz-rock or ferocious free improv... and the one writing simple melodies of stunning beauty... How the two of them live in the same body and breathe through the same trumpet might remain a mystery."
Born on July 26, 1951, in Otsu, Shiga, Japan, Tamura first picked up the trumpet while performing in his junior high brass band. He began his professional music career after he graduated from high school, playing in numerous bands including the World Sharps Orchestra, Consolation, Skyliners Orchestra, New Herd Orchestra, Music Magic Orchestra, and the Satoko Fujii Ensemble, as well as in his own ensemble. He was the trumpeter for numerous national television shows in Japan from 1973-1982, including The Best Ten, Music Fair, Kirameku Rhythm and many others.
In 1986, he came to the United States to study at Berklee College of Music. He then returned to his native Japan to perform and teach at the Yamaha Popular Music School and at private trumpet studios in Tokyo and Saitama, before coming back to the US to study at New England Conservatory. He made his debut recording as a leader in 1992 on Tobifudo.
In 1997 he released the duo album How Many? with pianist Satoko Fujii, who is also his wife. It marked the beginning of an artistic collaboration that continues up to the present. The duo has made a total of five CDs over the years, including 2012's Muku. "Muku contains some truly stunning, spine-tingling music...its sheer beauty and elegance is what lingers most," wrote Dave Wayne in All About Jazz. "Fujii's orchestral technique, clear chromatic lines and "prepared piano" devices contrast effectively with Tamura's arsenal of extended techniques which he executes with a warm, vocalized tone throughout the trumpet's full range," Ted Panken said in his four-star DownBeat review. Tamura's collaborations with Fujii reveal an intense musical empathy, and have garnered wide popular and critical acclaim. Jim Santella in All About Jazz described their synergy well in his glowing review of the couple's 2006 Not Two disc, In Krakow, In November: "... the creative couple forcefully demonstrates what can happen when you let your musical ideas run free... Similarly, Tamura's mournful trumpet can fly high or low in search of his next surprise. Oftentimes, they both issue plaintive moans that sing like angels on high." Their sixth duet album is due out in 2017.
In 1998, Tamura began recording his unaccompanied solo performances. The stunning solo trumpet debut release, A Song for Jyaki earned a Writers Choice 1998 in Coda magazine, and Andy Bartlett wrote in Coda, "A fabulous set of hiccuping leaps, drones and post-bop trumpet hi-jinx. Tamura goes from growling lows to fluid, free solo runs and echoes not only Don Cherry's slurring anti-virtuosic chops but also Kenny Wheeler's piercing highwire fullness." He followed it up in 2003 with KoKoKoKe, which Jon Davis described in Exposé as "Buddhist chants from an alien planet." Grego Applegate Edwards explains that on Tamura's most recent solo album, 2013's Dragon Nat, "he pares down to focus on simple unwinding melodic material, the sound of his trumpet as a sensuous thing, a periodicity. Taken as a whole it is a kind of environmental tone poem for the moment Natsuki is in now."
2003 was a breakout year for Tamura as a bandleader, with the release of Hada Hada, featuring his free jazz-avant rock quartet with Fujii on synthesizer. Peter Marsh of the BBC had this to say about the high voltage CD: "Imagine Don Cherry woke up one morning, found he'd joined an avant goth-rock band and was booked to score an Italian horror movie. It might be an unlikely scenario, but it goes some way to describing this magnificent sprawl of a record." The quartet's 2004 Quartet release Exit was deemed "...a brilliantly executed set with a neon glow," by Dan McClenaghan in All About Jazz.
In 2005, Tamura made a 180-degree turn in his music with the debut of his all acoustic Gato Libre quartet. Focusing on the intersection of European folk music and sound abstraction, the quartet featured Fujii on accordion, Kazuhiko Tsumura on guitar, and Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass. The quartet's poetic, quietly surreal performances have been praised for their "surprisingly soft and lyrical beauty that at times borders on flat-out impressionism," by Rick Anderson in CD Hotlist. Dan McClenaghan in All About Jazz described their fourth CD, Shiro, as "intimate, something true to the simple beauty of the folk tradition...Tamura's career has largely been about dissolving musical boundaries. With Gato Libre and Shiro, the trumpeter extends his reach even deeper into the prettiest, most accessible of his endeavors." After the unexpected passing of Norikatsu in 2012, Tamura added trombonist Yasuko Kaneko to the group. The new configuration has toured Europe and Japan and released its debut recording, DuDu, in 2014. "DuDu follows the winning formula of its predecessors but, as with the other discs, eschews the formulaic. The result is another sublimely satisfying, elegant record that brims with raw excitement and a reflective nostalgia," writes Hrayr Attarian in All About Jazz. With the tragic death of guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura, Gato Libre is now a trio. They will release a CD and LP in 2017.
In 2010, Tamura debuted a new electric quartet, First Meeting, featuring Fujii, drummer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto and electric guitarist Kelly Churko. Their first release, Cut the Rope, is "is a noisy, free, impatient album, and ranks among Fujii and Tamura's most accomplished," according to Steve Greenlee in the Boston Globe.
While fronting groups and recording as a leader, Tamura has also played an integral role in nearly all of Satoko Fujii's many projects. He is featured on all of the CDs by Satoko Fujii's various orchestras (NY, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, and Berlin) and has contributed original compositions and arrangements to each of their 19 critically celebrated albums. In addition, he was a featured soloist in the Satoko Fujii Quartet, her avant-rock free jazz group that also included Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. Of his work on the quartet's 2003 release Minerva, Mark Keresman wrote in JazzReview.com, "Natsuki Tamura's trumpet has some of the stark, melancholy lyricism of Miles, the bristling rage of late 60s Freddie Hubbard and a dollop of the extended techniques of Wadada Leo Smith and Lester Bowie."
Tamura is a vital member of Fujii's Min-Yo Ensemble as well. "Tamura tempers his avant-garde antics with an innate lyricism," wrote Steve Smith of Time Out New York in his review of Fujin Raijin, the intimate acoustic quartet's debut CD. He's also been singled out for his contributions to Fujii's ma do ensemble. "With Tamura's brash and glowing lines, the band incorporates mesmeric ostinatos and thrusting opuses into the grand schema," Glenn Astarita wrote in Ejazznews about their first CD, Desert Ship.
Collaborative groups also play an important role in Tamura's career. Most recently, Tamura joined Fujii and two French musicians, trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins, to form Kaze, which made their recording debut in 2011. In 2015, they released their third album, Uminari, which Jazz Magazine (France) called, "a compelling example of free jazz today. Compositions are perfectly scripted, with a well-oiled interaction and playing of beautiful power..." The collaborative trio Junk Box, which he co-founded in 2006 along with pianist Fujii and drummer John Hollenbeck, plays Fujii's "composed improvisations," graphic scores that take "ensemble dynamics to great creative heights," says Kevin Le Gendre in Jazzwise. Their music "is full of bluster and agitation that nonetheless retains moments of great melodic beauty, usually by way of concise, pertly pretty motifs that trumpeter Tamura plays in between bursts of withering roars that often dissolve into austere overtones." Their premiere CD, Fragment, appeared in 2006. As Daniel Spicer wrote of Fragment in JazzWise, "Tamura spits out gloriously rude Lester-Bowie-like snorts, lows like a herd of robotic cattle or makes like a wheezy howler monkey... Cool and clever." Glenn Astarita of All About Jazz declared it "Required listening."
Along the way, there have been one-off cooperative groups and sideman appearances for Tamura as well. In the Tank, an ad hoc quartet with Fujii and electric guitarists Takayuki Kato and Elliott Sharp, is a "triumphant electro-acoustic adventure" according to Daniel Spicer of Jazzwise. "Think AMM meets blues guitar meets 1970s Miles Davis and you get some idea of the disc's flavor: a slow-moving panorama for the ears, where sounds are systematically added, repeated, refined, and replaced in turn," wrote Nate Dorward in Cadence. Tamura and Fujii were one of two piano/trumpet duos featured on the Double Duo Crossword Puzzle CD, a live recording with Dutch trumpeter Angelo Verploegen and pianist Misha Mengelberg. Tamura has also toured and recorded with saxophonist Larry Ochs' Sax and Drumming Core, and appeared on albums by drummer Jimmy Weinstein, saxophonist Raymond McDonald, and CDs by Japanese free-jazz pioneers trumpeter Itaru Oki and pianist Masahiko Sato. In 2014 he released Nax, a duet album with bassist Alexander Frangenheim. Tamua has toured throughout Japan, North America, and Europe, appearing at major jazz festivals, concert halls, and clubs."-Natsuki Tamura Website (http://www.natsukitamura.com/bio)
^ Hide Bio for Natsuki Tamura
• Show Bio for Satoko Fujii
"Born on October 9, 1958 in Tokyo, Japan, Fujii began playing piano at four and received classical training until twenty, when she turned to jazz. From 1985-87, she studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where her teachers included Herb Pomeroy and Bill Pierce. She returned to Japan for six years before returning to the US to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where her teachers included George Russell, Cecil McBee, and Paul Bley, who appeared on her debut CD Something About Water (Libra, 1996).
Since then Fujii has been an innovative bandleader and soloist, a tireless seeker of new sounds, and a prolific recording artist in ensembles ranging from duos to big bands. She has showcased her astonishing range and ability approximately 80 CDs as leader or co-leader. With each new recording or new band, she explores new aspects of her art.
Regular collaborations include her New York trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, augmented by trumpeter/husband Natsuki Tamura to form the Satoki Fujii Four; her duo with Tamura; the Satoko Fujii Quartet featuring Tatsuya Yoshida of the Japanese avant-rock duo, The Ruins; Orchestra New York, which boasts the cream of New York's contemporary avant garde improvisers, including saxophonists Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby, trumpeters Herb Roberton and Steven Bernstein, and trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, among others; Orchestra Tokyo, drawing on that city's best improvisers; Orchestra Nagoya; Orchestra Kobe; the co-operative trio Junk Box with Tamura and percussionist John Hollenbeck; ma-do, a quartet including Tamura on trumpet, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, and Akira Horikoshi; the Min-Yoh Ensemble with Tamura, trombonist Hasselbring, and accordionist Andrea Parkins; the Satoko Fujii New Trio, featuring bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani― plus countless engagements and collaborations with some of the world's most important improvisers."-Satoko Fujii Website (http://www.satokofujii.com/bio.html)
^ Hide Bio for Satoko Fujii
• Show Bio for Scott Amendola
"Scott Amendola (born February 6, 1969) is an American drummer from the San Francisco Bay Area. His styles include jazz, blues, groove, rock and new music. He is considered central to the Bay Area music scene.
Amendola was originally from New Jersey and studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area he came to popularity in the 1990s as a member of T.J. Kirk with Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard and John Schott. Their second album received a Grammy Award nomination. He has led his own bands and trios which have included Nels Cline, Jenny Scheinman, Jeff Parker and John Shifflett as well as Ben Goldberg and Devin Hoff. Often favoring guitarists he has toured with Bill Frisell and Kelly Joe Phelps and recorded with Pat Martino, Jim Campilongo, G.E. Stinson, Nels Cline and Tony Furtado. He is an original member of the Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core. He has been a session percussionist for Noe Venable, Carla Bozulich and Odessa Chen.
In 2011 Amendola will have his new orchestral work performed in conjunction with the Oakland East Bay Symphony as one the symphony's New Visions/New Vistas premieres. Amendola will be joined by Nels Cline and Trevor Dunn."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Amendola)
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• Show Bio for Matthias Bossi
"Matthias Bossi, voice, percussion, and keyboards (Dennis, MA), has played drums in Skeleton Key, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Fred Frith's Cosa Brava, and The Book of Knots, and made records with John Vanderslice, St. Vincent, Pretty Lights and The Tiger Lillies. His video game production company with bassist/engineer Jon Evans, Ridiculon, has written soundtracks for the video game "The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth" and soon to be released "The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth" "Super Meat Boy: 5th Anniversary" and "Super Meat Boy: Forever."
As an actor, Matthias has worked with the Shotgun Players, Pickle Family Circus, and action theatre pioneers Erika Shuch and Joe Goode. His current voiceover work can be heard on the sensational "Little Baby's Ice Cream" commercials, and also on a guided tour of Golden Gate Park produced by the SF-based audio walk company, Detour.
In February 2012, Matthias founded Rabbit Rabbit with his wife Carla Khilstedt. Rabbit Rabbit released their debut album, Rabbit Rabbit Radio - Vol. 1 in 2013. The band revolves around a song-a-month subscription website called Rabbit Rabbit Radio."-YellowBarn (http://www.yellowbarn.org/artist/matthias-bossi)
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• Show Bio for William Winant
"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)
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