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Mitchell, Matt: Illimitable [2 CDs] (Obliquity)

"100% improvised, one take, no edits" from New York pianist Matt Mitchell's solo album in four extended improvisations of impressive detail and creative direction, eschewing any particular style while crossing many, Mitchell's technical skills making complex passages clear even when he names them as abstruse, an impressive accomplishment and an absorbing album of solo piano improv.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Matt Mitchell-piano


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UPC: 843563173978

Label: Obliquity
Catalog ID: Obliquity 03
Squidco Product Code: 34836

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Oktaven Audio, Mt. Vernon, New York, on December 4th, 2023, by Ryan Streber.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"all this music is 100% improvised, one take, no edits."-Obliquity



"One aspect of the first two tracks is that this is pure acoustic piano. There's no drum sequencer. There are no synths. There are no vocals. Streams of notes, sheets of improvised notes, tumble over each other. And there is quiet. I have been a fan of Keith Jarrett's wholly improvised performances, and this is in keeping with them-minus the vocalizations Jarrett developed a reputation for. A one-take, improvised piece is in keeping with how I liked to do my acrylic painting (when I was doing acrylic painting). A little bit of "exercise" while doing it, and get the thing out in an hour and a half or less.

The nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche commented on the reputation many artists had for "genius," which he said was misunderstood. The reputation was for sudden, spontaneous creation of history's great art works, whereas the reality was that the artist put much thought and planning, and work, into creating the impression of a spontaneous work emerging whole out of their imagination. Even today, with the sophisticated techniques of modern music production, the illusion of perfection can be created from symphony recordings, in a way similar to that of "movie magic." Super-human performances are assembled from cuttings from multiple performances-and is auto-tune used even with classical music recordings? I'd never thought of that before.

Matt Mitchell's wholly improvised, one-take pieces on Illimitable, like Keith Jarrett's improvised concerts, buck this longstanding trend of the image of perfection being created artificially. I will not speak of perfection regarding Matt Mitchell's works. The word is out of place here. As philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote (and it's important despite his regrettable political involvements with the Nazi Party during World War II), the "that it is" of the art work creates a world around it. Of course, Heidegger is notoriously difficult, and I am only touching on what he wrote about art (and do it in fear and trembling ;-) ). I could be saying something silly. But it is not silly to say that Mitchell's works declare that they are, and we are to see that they are, and take them into our keeping.

Just yesterday, when mentioning an album to a friend, I was asked what genre of music it was. I realized that I can hardly say much about music genres today. When I was a teenager, the (seemingly!) subtle distinctions between different types of pop music appeared obvious and important to me. While I think it is difficult to argue that J. S. Bach fugues are country, or that Matt Mitchell's Illimitable is bluegrass, genres serve a much less obvious role for me today, and a far less prominent role in my mapping of musics. I don't even know what genres names are being used today. And I don't know what genre name to use for Illimitable-and I am not bothered by that.

The more acoustic piano music I listen to, the more it impresses me how skilled pianists are able to create the impression of there being two pianos playing at once. I am often eager to know more about the miking of pianos during recordings like this one. A single instrument is set before me in a sonic space that is similar to the one it lives in for the performer-high notes to the right, middle notes in the middle, and bass register on the left.

You can listen for free to the first track. I am nearing the end of the second track, "unwonted," and it has been effectively shaped into movements both fast and slow. The winding down near the end, that I am hearing now, has just struck the image of rain falling on a pond. The delicious resonances of the sustained left-hand notes sit with me as I relax after many tense bars of intense music. I think I have just sat through a guided meditation as much as a piece of music.

I want to get this out."-Hans Cox (Substack)


Get additional information at Hans Cox

Artist Biographies

"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/)
5/23/2024

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


Track Listing:



CD1



1. Illimitable 13:59

2. Unwanted 42:43

CD2



1. Abstruse Admixtures 28:24

2. For Oona 24:58

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Solo Artist Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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Obliquity.


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