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MacroQuarktet, The

The Complete Night: Live At The Stone NYC [2 CDs]

MacroQuarktet, The: The Complete Night: Live At The Stone NYC [2 CDs] (Out Of Your Head Records)

NYC Downtown mainstays, trumpeters Dave Ballou and Herb Robertson, are heard in a full concert at The Stone in NYC in 2007 with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey, concentrating their work in the Satoko Fuji Orchestra and Orange Then Blue into their own quartet, this their first performance together their energy, inventivenss and enthusiasm is on full display.

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product information:

UPC: 193428680937

Label: Out Of Your Head Records
Catalog ID: OOYH 006
Squidco Product Code: 29317

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at the Stone, in New York City, New York, on June 30th, 2007, by Jon Rosenberg.


Dave Ballou-trumpet

Herb Robertson-trumpet

Drew Gress-bass

Tom Rainey-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Trumpeter/Improviser/Composer/Educator, Dave Ballou has released ten CD's as a leader and co-leader. He has performed or recorded with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Denman Maroney, Maria Schnieder, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Kahlil, Don Preston and an extensive list of jazz personalities. Dave has performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2 with the Bella Musica Orchestra of NY, Larry Austin's Improvisations with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Gunther Schuller's Journey into Jazz with the Spokane Symphony and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He appeared as a featured soloist for the premiere of Schuller's Encounters, a composition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jordan Hall.The Meridian Arts Ensemble, The TILT Brass ensemble and the Monarch Trio have all performed his compositions. His work for solo trumpet, "Samskara" has been recorded by Jon Nelson for release in 2010. In 2009, Dave received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. In 2010, Universtiy of Michigan French Horn professor, Adam Unsworth, performed an adaptation of "Samskara" for horn.

Dave is a Professor of Music at Towson University and coordinator of the Jazz/Commercial music division. He teaches classes in Jazz history, Jazz theory and improvisation, Jazz arranging, studio jazz trumpet and improvisation for all instrumentalists, jazz composition and coaches small jazz ensembles including the improvisation ensemble. He has taught at the Litchfield Jazz Camp, the Maryland Summer Jazz Camp, the Maine Jazz Camp and The Banff Institute.

He earned a BM (magna cum laude) from Berklee College of Music in 1986 and a MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.Born in Peace Dale, Rhode Island Dave was drawn to the trumpet at age 11 and quickly was excited by the sounds of jazz trumpeters Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw, Maynard Ferguson, Clark Terry, the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Orchestra as well as classical trumpeterers John Willbraham and Bud Herseth. His early trumpet studies were with RI philharmonic trumpeter Julio Tancredi. Dave began working gigs at the age of 16 playing society gigs in the mansions of Newport and Italian Festival parades in Providence, RI.After brief study at the University of Rhode Island, Dave attended the Berklee College of Music. There he studied with Herb Pomeroy, Greg Hopkins, Jimmy Mosher and Greg Fritze. Other teachers have been George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook, Laurie Frink, Charles Schluter, Jeff Stout and Paul Caputo.

Tours with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey (led by Buddy Morrow) and Woody Herman (led by Frank Tiberi) followed studies at Berklee. Dave then attended the University of New Hampshire and received a Master's of Art's degree in 1992. At UNH he came under the direct influence of the jazz great Clark Terry.

Dave worked many types of gigs in the Boston area during and after his studies at UNH. He was also a member of the bands Orange Then Blue and the Either/Orchestra.

In 1994 Dave moved to New York City. Seeking a community in which he could grow as an artist and be surrounded by like-minded musicians, Dave settled into Brooklyn and took part in the vibrant scene there. In NY Dave played Broadway shows , recording sessions and many jazz concerts with some of his heroes: Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Tim Berne, Billy Hart, Dewey Redman, Michael Formanek and Dave Liebman.

Dave joined the faculty of Towson Universtiy in the fall of 2004. He became to coordinator of the Jazz and Commercial Music division in 2006 and has worked to reconnect the Jazz program with the community of musicians influenced by former TU music professor Hank Levy. Earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the 2009-2010 academic year Dave has become recognized as an innovative pedagouge in the teaching of improvisation and composition. His students have become leaders in the improvised music scene in Baltimore.

He continues to perform with innovative improvisors and composers. Recently appearing with on recordings by Denman Maroney, Mario Pavone and Grammy nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Dave continues to develop as an instrumentalist, composer and teacher."

-Dave Ballou Website (

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"Clarence "Herb" Robertson (born February 21, 1951) is a jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist. He was born in New Jersey and attended the Berklee School of Music. He has recorded five solo albums for the JMT record label and also worked as a sideman for Tim Berne, Anthony Davis, Bobby Previte, David Sanborn, George Gruntz, Bill Frisell and Paul Motian, among others."

-Wikipedia (

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"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 (

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"Thomas "Tom" Rainey (born 1957, Santa Barbara, California) is an American drummer.

After attending Berklee College of Music he moved to New York in 1979. He has played with American jazz saxophonist and composer Tim Berne, and also with Nels Cline, Fred Hersch, Tony Malaby, Tom Varner, Drew Gress, Kenny Werner, Mark Helias, and Simon Nabatov. A prolific session musician, he has appeared on close to eighty recordings over a career spanning over 25 years.

He released his own first album, Pool School (Clean Feed), in 2010."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:


1. Neuroplasticity pt. 1 3:05

2. Neuroplasticity pt. 2 9:56

3. Neuroplasticity pt. 3 10:44

4. Ducks and Geese ... Or Rabbits? pt. 1 6:23

5. Ducks and Geese ... Or Rabbits? pt. 2 10:07

6. Ducks and Geese ... Or Rabbits? pt. 3 5:09

7. Ducks and Geese ... Or Rabbits? pt. 4 3:07

8. Basal D. Ganglia pt. 1 3:37

9. Basal D. Ganglia pt. 2 4:04

10. Basal D. Ganglia pt. 3 4:04


1. Crossing The Threshold pt. 1 9:00

2. Crossing The Threshold pt. 2 10:12

3. Crossing The Threshold pt. 3 7:41

4. Crossing The Threshold pt. 4 7:10

5. Crossing The Threshold pt. 5 9:56

6. No Planet B pt. 1 4:08

7. No Planet B pt. 2 5:14
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"To those familiar with the NYC downtown music scene of the 80s and 90s, trumpeters Herb Robertson and Dave Ballou need no introduction. Having collaborated with the likes of Tim Berne, John Zorn, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Dewey Redman, and countless others, both were at the center of what was one of the most formative eras for experimental and improvised music to date. In performance, the most common meeting place for trumpet players is within the section of a big band or large ensemble, and together Robertson and Ballou have performed in the Satoko Fuji Orchestra and Orange Then Blue.

However, after the recording session for Satoko Fuji's Undulation Herb and Dave identified it as essential to play together in a smaller format. In a quartet (with the addition of Drew Gress on bass and Tom Rainey on drums) each of their unique approaches to both improvisation and the trumpet would be the central focus, and highlighted in a way not possible in a large ensemble. Thus "The MacroQuarktet" (a portmanteau combining both the whole view as well as the detailed) was formed. The Complete Night: Live at The Stone NYC documents their first performance from June 30, 2007, available here in its entirety for the first time ever."-Out Of Your Head

"In 2008, the now defunct label "Ruby Flower" from Luxembourg released the only album by superband The MacroQuarktet" with Herb Robertson and Dave Ballou on trumpet, Drew Gress on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. The album, "Each Part A Whole" was a release of a concert given at The Stone in 2007, and it gives a complete rendition of the first of the two sets they played. Ballou and Robertson had been recording with Satoko Fujii's big band for the Undulation album, when they decided to share their musical ideas in a smaller ensemble format. The MacroQuarktet was born, and the initial album much sought after.

Now, so many years later, Brooklyn-based label "Out Of Your Head", releases the full concert by the quartet. The full original album is available on this release, with the second set clocking around fifty minutes in addition.

The four musicians perform in full improvisation with no prior discussions or agreements. This results in utterly fresh music that is equally unpredictable. Anything can happen. Robertson and Ballou use additional tools to acoustically alter their sound once in a while, but the variation in sonic timbre is primarily driven by lungs and lips and fingers. Ballou also plays valve trombone, tuba, the Eb alto horn and little instruments, and possibly also flute. They explore, they challenge each other. As their band's name suggests, they explore the tiny and go for the big picture, like pointillist paintings conjuring up feelings and imagery from little notes and in-the-moment interaction, moving between dense semi-rhythmic moments to light-textured free phases. It flows and cascades, it erupts and calms down again, in great collective movements of beauty, pristine sonic creation and sounds that are almost made tangible. There are moments of drama full of severe gravity, but also moments of fun, like megaphone shouts, sounds like dogs barking and other unusual interactions.

The second set consists of two pieces - "Crossing The Threshold" and "No Planet B" - both subdivided into several parts, giving a suite-like impression.

It's hard to compare both sets, and there is no reason why the first album only contained the first set, and I would personally even prefer the second set at this moment.

In sum, it is great to have the full performance available, now as one double CD. It was much sought after, and we can only applaud the label for having saved this great music from oblivion."-Stef Gijssels, The Free Jazz Collective

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
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New in Improvised Music
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