The Squid's Ear Magazine


Teiku (Harlow / Taylor / Shahid / Formanek / Leafar): Teiku (577 Records)

Teiku, a Talmudic acronym that roughly translates to "unanswered question", was co-founded by pianist Josh Harlow and percussionist Jonathan Barahal Taylor to explore each of their family's unique Passover vocal melodies through improvisation and sonic exploration, performed in a quintet with Art Ensemble/Sun Ra bassist Jaribu Shahid and reedists Peter Formanek & Rafael Leafar.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Josh Harlow-piano, synth, electronics, composer, arranger

Jonathan Barahal Taylor-drum set, percussion, synth arrangements, composer, arranger, producer

Jaribu Shahid-double bass, singing bowls, percussion

Peter Formanek-tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet

Rafael Leafar-bass clarinet, bass flute, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, electronics


Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.




UPC: 755491297902

Label: 577 Records
Catalog ID: CD-577R-5929-1
Squidco Product Code: 34383

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Big Sky Recording, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 14th and 15th, 2022, by Josef Deas.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Teiku's origin story feels almost pre-ordained. Co-leaders pianist Josh Harlow and percussionist Jonathan Barahal Taylor built Teiku on the foundation of the music they grew up singing: their Jewish-Ukranian ancestors' Passover songs, unique to each respective family and passed down aurally over generations. It is worth pointing out how remarkable this is. The holiday of Passover is celebrated with liturgical songs, but for most American Jews, the melodies associated with these texts have become increasingly standardized. Harlow and Taylor's families each steward a number of unique melodies that likely originated in their ancestral villages but survive only through their family lines. Despite both growing up surrounded by Jewish communities, neither knew of any other families with melodies of their own. The concept for the band had independently incubated for years inside the minds of the co-leaders, and both knew that these beautiful family melodies would somehow have a place in their musical futures. As luck would have it, the two met in the Detroit music scene and developed a strong musical chemistry, eventually discovering their strikingly similar histories and immediately setting out to make Teiku a reality. With these simple vocal melodies as source material, the two crafted multi-layered arrangements that act as rich spaces for improvisation. Sonically and spiritually, it is music that embraces the tenets of Creative Music.

Teiku is a Talmudic acronym that roughly translates to "unanswered question," a fitting description of the process of discovery that creative improvisers know well: creating spontaneous and cohesive sonic environments that are felt viscerally but cannot be expressed in words. This project reflects its leaders' musical and spiritual sensibilities: a yearning for insight, an acute sensitivity to the present moment, a space made for searching deeper. The band includes a cast of masterful improvisers, starting with Harlow and Taylor's mentor, bassist Jaribu Shahid (Griot Galaxy, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Geri Allen, Sun Ra Arkestra), a veteran who brings his decades of highest level musical experience to the ensemble with melodic brilliance and an elastic feel. Woodwind players Peter Formanek (tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet), and Rafael Leafar (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, bass flute) form a formidable front line, shifting between heart wrenching melodies and nuanced timbral explorations and blending their distinct voices with poise and ease. Voice recordings from Harlow and Taylor's families further ground some of the pieces, enhancing the ritualistic musical space and deepening Teiku's rich array of textures and moods. Arrangements transition from frenetic density to subdued groove to minimalist electro-acoustic soundscapes, but as adventurous as the music gets, the spirit of the melody is never lost. Teiku's music represents a dialogue with ancestral traditions and celebrates the joy of creativity. The invigorating musical conversation presented in their stunning debut album is a testament to the power of this artform and community."-577 Records


Artist Biographies

"Josh Harlow is a pianist, keyboardist, and composer based in Chicago. He plays a wide array of music, touring the country with several musical projects: the Jewish roots exploration Teiku, instrumental psychedelic band Submerser, his duo projects with Joe Suihkonen and Peter Formanek, and his piano trio. He has collaborated with a variety of likeminded peers and mentors, including Wadada Leo Smith, John Lindberg, Michael Formanek, Jaribu Shahid, Dana Jessen, and Joo Won Park.

In addition to his work as a composer and performer, Josh is an experienced and committed teacher. He teaches private and group lessons and has an ongoing relationship with Make Music NOLA, a free music-for-social-justice afterschool and summer program for underserved children in New Orleans. As for his own formal education, he graduated Oberlin Conservatory in 2016, where he studied Jazz, composition, and improvisation."

-Josh Harlow Website (https://joshharlow.com/josh)
7/10/2024

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" is a Percussionist, Composer, and Improviser based in Detroit. An avid collaborator, He co-leads a number of diverse projects, Including the art-rock quartet saajtak, Teiku, which reimagines aurally transmitted ancestral Jewish melodies in a Creative Music context, Root Beneath Bones, a solo project for drums and electronics, and Mover, which performs a constantly shifting modular suite of Taylor's compositions and graphic scores."

-Jonathan Barahal Taylor Website (http://www.jontaylormusic.com/epk)
7/10/2024

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"Jaribu Shahid hails from Detroit, Michigan, and was raised in a diverse musical climate, playing with local luminaries such as Kenn Cox, Wendell Harrison, Jimmy Wilkins, J.C. Heard, Martha and the Vandellas and others. Principally self-taught, Jaribu's training began in the band of friend Kamau kenyatta and in bass studies with Bob Collins.

Around 1975 he was mentored by Faruq Z. Bey and joined the sci-fi band Griot Galaxy. This explorative music, greatly influenced by Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, featured the original concepts by Faruq Z. Bey. This was further realized in 1976 when Tanni Tabal moved to Detroit, establishing the principal rhythm section of his career. In 1978, he moved to Philadelphia and lived with the core of the Sun Ra Arkestra with whom he played intermittenly untils Sonny's passing.

In 1979 he had his first opportunity to work with Roscoe Mitchell. This led to his career-long involvement with Roscoe in the Roscoe Mitchell Sound Ensemble and, currently, the Roscoe Mitchell Note Factory. In recent years, Jaribu has been a member of various groups led by master saxophonist David Murray and the Freedom Arts Quartet.

Jaribu has recorded with Sun Ra, Roscoe Mitchell, James Carter, David Murray, Geri Allen, Rod Williams, Craig Taborn, Hugh Ragin, Abdoulaye Ndiaye and Blue Dog. He can be heard on the Milt Jackson DVD Vibes Surprise recorded live in Munich. After Malachi Favors' passing, he was invited to perform with the Art Ensemble of Chicago."

-Pi Recordings (https://pirecordings.com/artists/jaribu-shahid/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Peter Formanek is an improvising multi-woodwind performer, composer, educator, and a lifelong student of music. Hailing from Baltimore, he recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Still, he's been studying music with a Ph.D.-level teacher his whole life: his father, Michael Formanek. His recent senior recital at Kerrytown Concert House drew a wide audience, but also proved he's a "musician's musician" with a number of projects featuring established Detroit area heroes Tim Flood, Andrew Bishop, and Piotr Michalowski, as well as up-and-coming musical collaborators Cory Tripathy, Tristan Cappel, Christopher Tabaczynski, Ben Willis, Jon Taylor, Kenji Lee, and more."

-Out of Your Head Records (https://www.outofyourheadrecords.com/peter-formanek)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Hailing from Detroit, Rafael Leafar is a multi-instrumentalist-master of saxophones, clarinets, flutes, piano, and electronica-as well as a composer, producer, educator, and creative improvisational performer. His connection to music was jazz, fostered by a musical family from an early age. His parents made life-changing investments to guarantee him access to quality education, moving back and forth to the suburbs while providing fruitful performance opportunities in Detroit that resulted in graduation from DSA, Detroit Civic Jazz Orchestra, and The New School for jazz. Since 2009, Leafar has had major recordings and performances with legendary artists such as: Reggie Workman, Robert Hurst, Marcus Belgrave, Spencer Barefield, Wendell Harrison, Jeff Tain Watts, Marion Hayden, and Sterling Toles."

-Kresge Arts in Detroit (https://kresgeartsindetroit.org/artist/rafael-leafar/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Adir Hu Intro 1:18

2. Adir Hu 7:41

3. Adir Yivneh Rigalenu 8:07

4. Ki Leh Noeh 6:53

5. Psalm 136 8:20

6. U'V'Chen Amartem Zevach Peseykh 3:09

7. Dayenu 6:51

8. Psalm 113-114 5:08

9. Echad Mi Yodea 10:05

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Quintet Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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