On their first concert as a duo in 2014, alto saxophonist Michael Attias and pianist Simon Nabatov recorded these five creatively lyrical improvisations at iBeam in Brooklyn, Nabatov on the keys and inside the piano and both using tremendous technique in a mix of perky and introspective free expression, including an extended work that melds into Herbie Nichol's "Spinning Song".
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Label: Leo Records
Catalog ID: LEO 901 CD
Squidco Product Code: 30567
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at IBeam, in Brooklyn, New York, on July 6th, 2014, by Randy Thaler.
Michael Attias-alto saxophone
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• Show Bio for Michael Attias
"Michaël Attias is a quietly fierce force on the international improvising scene. With a brisk and calming tone Attias is a thinker, traveler, questioner. Born in Israel, raised in Paris and the American Midwest, he has lived in NYC since 1994.
As a leader, Attias has released five critically-acclaimed albums since 2005: Credo, Renku, Renku in Coimbra, Twines of Colesion and, in 2012, Spun Tree. As a sideman, he has performed and recorded all over the world alongside some of today's most compelling musicians: Anthony Braxton, Paul Motian, Anthony Coleman, Masabumi Kikuchi, Tony Malaby, Ralph Alessi, Oliver Lake, Tom Rainey, John Hébert, Nasheet Waits, Sean Conly, Ken Filiano, Kris Davis, and many others.
His current projects include his long-standing trio Renku, with John Hébert and Satoshi Takeishi; Spun Tree, with Ralph Alessi, Matt Mitchell, Sean Conly, Tom Rainey; and the new Michaël Attias Quartet with Aruàn Ortiz, John Hébert and Nasheet Waits.
Michaël Attias has also established himself as creator of live musical scores and sound designs for theatre including, since 2008, five collaborations with legendary director Robert Woodruff: Chair, Notes From Underground, Battle of Black and Dogs, Autumn Sonata, and In a year With Thirteen Moons. These were produced at such prominent New York and regional theatres as Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and The Duke on 42nd Street.
Michaël Attias was named a 2000 Artists' Fellowship Recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts and was awarded a MacDowell Arts Colony fellowship in Fall 2008. From 2003 to 2008, he curated the critically acclaimed and highly successful new music series, Night of the Ravished Limbs, at Barbès in Brooklyn, welcoming a wide array of established names such as Barre Philips, Tim Berne, Mark Helias, Jason Moran, as well as an impressive list of rising New York talent including Mary Halvorson, Eivind Opsvik, Gerald Cleaver, and many more.
The product of migrations spanning North Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and the American Midwest, Attias was born in Haïfa, Israel in 1968 and spent the first part of his childhood in Paris, where he attended the music conservatory and studied violin for a brief period. His family moved to Minneapolis in 1977. An early passion for the music of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman led him to start playing the alto saxophone at the age of 15 under the guidance of great Minneapolis saxophonist and composer Pat Moriarty, while attending the Children's Theatre School. Avid for adventure and experience, he graduated from high school as a junior and traveled for a year in Europe before enrolling at New York University as a Film and Music student. Somewhere in between, he had the great privilege of taking a couple of lessons with Lee Konitz. Judging that school was interfering with his education, he dropped out after the spring semester, went back to Paris for a year where he wrote a novel called Twines of Colesion (1000 pages thankfully destroyed), came back to the US for an eight-month cross-country trip that took him from New York City to San Francisco via Mexico, and returned to Paris in 1989 where he became bartender at the IACP, a music school founded by legendary bassist Alan Silva. There he met such heroes of the ex-pat scene as Steve Lacy, Sunny Murray, Frank Wright, Bobby Few and others. He recorded with a pianoless quartet dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk, Four in One (In Situ 1992), made his first album as leader and composer with a quintet of French musicians (released on Igal Foni's For Elevators/Jazzis, 1993). In January 1993, at the prompting of Anthony Braxton, he moved back to the US, sat in on his classes at Wesleyan University for one semester and finally moved to New York the following winter."-Michael Attias Website (http://www.michaelattias.com/html/about.php)
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• Show Bio for Simon Nabatov
"Simon Nabatov's musical education began at the age of 3, his father, himself a musician, being the first teacher. The Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatory were the next steps. After the whole family emigrated and settled in New York in 1979, Nabatov continued his studies at the Juilliard School Of Music. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music grew strong enough to make them his main activity.
Since then he performed and recorded with many fine musicians such as Paul Motian, Tony Scott, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Skidmore, Herb Robertson, Louis Sclavis, Charles McPhearson, Billy Hart, David Murray, Paul Horn, Ricki Ford, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Barry Guy, Gerry Hemingway, Jim Snidero, Herb Geller, Dave Pike, Attila Zoller, Matthias Schubert, Barry Altschul, Vladimir Tarasov, John Betsch, Ed Schuller, Arto Tuncboyaci, Adam Nussbaum, Paul Heller, Jay Clayton, Ron McClure, Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Phil Minton, Michael Moore, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Wolter Wierbos, Paulo Alvares, Gareth Lubbe, Ben Davis and many others.
He enjoyed continuous work with Ray Anderson Quartet, Arthur Blythe Quartet, Perry Robinson Quartet, NDR Big Band (Hamburg,Germany), Steve Lacy - Simon Nabatov Duo, Nils Wogram Quartet, Nils Wogram - Simon Nabatov Duo, Matthias Schubert Quartet, Matthias Schubert - Simon Nabatov Duo and Klaus König Orchestra.
His own projects and activities included, since three decades, hundreds of solo recitals.In the early 90s Nabatov founded the trio with the bassist Mark Helias and the drummer Tom Rainey; the quartet "Nature Morte" with the British vocalist Phil Minton, multireed-player Frank Gratkowski and trombonist Nils Wogram (both from Germany); and the quintet including his trio plus the violinist Mark Feldman and the trumpet player Herb Robertson.In 2003 another trio was formed, with the cellist Ernst Reijseger and the drummers Michael Vatcher (and later Michael Sarin).
As co-leader Nabatov played and recorded in duos with Steve Lacy, with the German tenor sax player Matthias Schubert, American drummer Tom Rainey, Dutch drummer Han Bennink, German trombonist Nils Wogram, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and the Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg, just to mention a few. His current duo partners are the South-African born viola player and vocalist Gareth Lubbe, the Turkish clarinetist Oguz Buyukberber and the Brazilian pianist Paulo Alvares.
In the 1999-2000 season a large-scale radio production project (co - sponsored by WDR and Bayer AG) saw him write and record over 6 hours of music for solo piano, duo (with the American reed player Michael Moore), his trio, the quartet "Nature Morte" and the quintet. Beginning of 2000 the Swiss label HatHut Records brought out the first recording - the trio release "Sneak Preview". The next three recordings, quartet "Nature Morte", quintet "The Master and Margarita" and solo "Perpetuum Immobile" have been released by Leo Records.
Two more CD´s - " Chat Room" ( duo with Han Bennink ) and "Autumn Music" ( trio with Ernst Reijseger and Michael Vatcher ) were brought out by this independent English label.The next project produced by WDR in 2004 was a 90 - minute piece " A Few Incidents" based on the texts of Russian writer Daniil Charms. The octet included Phil Minton, Frank Gratkowski, Nils Wogram, Ernst Reijseger, Cor Fuhler, Matt Penman, Michael Sarin and Simon Nabatov. Leo Records released the recording of this composition in 2005. Together with "Nature Morte" and "Master and Margarita" it completed the "Russian Trilogy", 3 musical projects based on the Russian literature.
In 2009 Nabatov, sponsored by the Cologne culture institutions, completed a 5-day project called "Roundup" (involving M.Schubert, N.Wogram, E.Reijseger and T.Rainey), resulting in 3 CD's released on Leo Records: quintet "Roundup", a trio with E.Reijseger and M.Schubert - "Square Down" and another one with N.Wogram and T.Rainey - "Nawora".
Starting around 2000, parallel to his jazz activities, Simon Nabatov developed a deep interest for the culture and music of Brazil. This led him to study the Portuguese language, travel number of times throughout the country and learn a great deal about a number of different musical genres.
Some of the more structured activities in that field were a CD release "Around Brazil" on the ACT label (2006), and the two-months long Goethe-Institut "Artist-in-Residence" in Porto Alegre, which allowed Nabatov to learn more about the regional "musica gaucha". Since 2007 he often performs his solo program based on Brazilian music.
In the recent years Nabatov also delved into the field of electronic music, learning MAX/MSP programming environment; in April 2013 he premiered his new solo program for piano and computer, developed together with the German composer and electronic music specialist hans w. koch. In December 2016 excerpts from this program made up a half of the program of his most recent CD "MONK 'N' MORE".
Another musical adventure of the recent years was Nabatov's solo program dedicated to the music of the great jazz composer and pianist Herbie Nichols. Leo Records released a highly acclaimed CD of that program, and the PanRec label brought out a DVD.2015 saw Nabatov realize a four-part project "...still crazy after all these years" (celebrating 25 years in Cologne), which resulted in forming 4 new trios: with two young Cologne musicians Stefan Schoenegg and Dominik Mahnig, with Andre de Cayres and Rodrigo Villalon (dedicated to Brazilian music), with two giants of improvised music Barry Guy and Gerry Hemingway, and a trio with two string players, Gareth Lubbe (viola) and Ben Davis (cello). The first documentation of the project - Simon Nabatov Trio "Picking Order" was released August 2016 on Leo Records. Other 3 releases are planned for 2017.
Simon Nabatov performed and recorded numerous pieces of chamber music, some of them written specially for him: "Piano Concerto "Baba" by the American pianist/composer Kenny Werner, "Sonata for violin and piano" by the Irish bassist/composer Ronan Guilfoyle,"Trumpet Sonata", "Cello Sonata", "Trio for flute,cello and piano" by the Swiss reed-player/composer Daniel Schnyder. He also performed and recorded some of the more known "crossover" works, such as "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin (NDR Symphony Orchestra Hannover,1998) or "Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra" by Rolf Liebermann (NDR Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, Hamburg,1996).
Nabatov was among the winners of the 3rd "International Great Jazz Pianist Competition" in Jacksonville, USA (2nd prize) in 1985, and of the "Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition" in Paris, France (3rd prize) in 1989. In 1987 he was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Simon Nabatov made numerous radio productions for most of the major European broadcasting companies: WDR, NDR, HR, BR, SFR, Radio France, Radio Zürich, Radio Ireland etc.
He played on countless international jazz festivals including Paris, Antibes, Helsinki, Zagreb, Nevers, Berlin, Dublin, Cork, Vilshofen, Bergamo, Groeningen, Vilnus, Karlsbad, Genua, North Sea, Brugge, Voss, Bergen, Riga, Vilnius, Ulrichsberg a.m.o.
Simon Nabatov gave concerts and workshops in over 60 countries, he appears on ca. 70 recordings, and his own music and projects are documented on over 25 CD's and 3 DVD's (all DVD's on PanRec).
He has taught at the Folkwang Hochschule (Essen), Musichochschule Lucerne (Switzerland) and at the International Jazz and Rock Academy (Remscheid).2012 - 2014 he was the substitute professor of Jazz piano and Ensemble at the Conservatory of Hannover, Germany.
Since 1989 he resides predominantly in Cologne, Germany, but keeps an apartment and a part of his heart in New York."-Simon Nabatov Website (http://www.nabatov.com/biography.htm)
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1. Glimpses & Tangles 12:26
2. Gowanus By Night 5:32
3. Glances 8:37
4. Languid/The Spinning Song 16:19
5. Poetic Bug Bite 10:42
sample the album:
"The miracle of a happy first encounter unfolds with something like the sudden ease of dreams, you can fly, what seemed impossible and insoluble is now radiant with self-evidence, the music makes itself, will anything again ever seem difficult? One night in Brooklyn a few years ago, an architecture of glimpses grew out from somewhere in the middle of time.There were rooms and towers and spaces and bridges, tangles and tangos, the dance of distance and convergence, and through it all the dawning discovery of a shared sense of balance, drama, form, resonance and sympathy. And then was forgotten...
So happy that Max Johnson instigated this encounter, that Simon was willing, that Randy Thaler documented the event, and that the document was unearthed from Simon's Vaults in the midst of a pandemic that has obliterated the possibility of such mischiefs and miracles, for musicians in Brooklyn at least, and at least for a while longer."-Michaël Attias
"[...] The album title refers to the fact that these two artists first met and performed together in Brooklyn, New York one night and realized the strong affinity they had for each other.
And that affinity is clearly evident on this release. Michaël Attias is an alto sax counterpart to tenor sax legend Ivo Perelman, and on this set his playing is not only explorative and imaginative but also focused. To this extent, I also give credit to Nabatov, who introduces his own ideas for consideration by the saxist but is also happy to follow the latter whither he shall wander. In a sense, Attias and Nabatov have an affinity for each other's ideas similar to that of Perelman with pianist Matthew Shipp, with whom he has recorded close to a dozen albums (including a couple for Leo Records). The difference is that Shipp tends to create a bit more structure into which Perelman fits his own ideas, whereas Nabatov plays less chords and more single lines; but the instant rapport between them is eerily similar. They listen to each other and try to complement each other's excursions as best they can, and frankly, that's all you can ask of any improvising musician.
Despite the slight differences in approach from Perelman-Shipp, Attias-Nabatov also touch base with tonality once in a while. This helps to ground the listener in what is going on and make it sound structured even when it is wholly improvised. As both Lennie Tristano, the grandfather of free jazz, and Charles Mingus, who also dabbled in it occasionally, said, "You can't improvise on nothing." Indeed. If there is no substance to the music the results, no matter how interesting, are bound to sound disorganized at best and cacophonous at worst. Even at their most adventurous, neither Attias nor Nabatov sound cacophonous or chaotic, and that is the essence of all good music.
Take, for instance, the opening of Gowanus By Night. Attias plays high, sustained tones on his alto, sounding almost like a harmonium, while Nabatov sprinkles a few notes here and there, occasionally plucking the inside strings of his instrument. They are focused on creating a mood, of course, but a mood that will develop into something more substantial...which they do, slowly but surely. At 2:27 Nabatov plays a surprisingly Tristano-like lick on the piano that he develops, the tempo picks up, and both of them are off to the races. A strong rhythm in 4 suddenly asserts itself and it seems as if no matter what one plays, the other has a complementary idea for it. This is the essence of great jazz, regardless of genre; it's a tradition that goes back as far as Louis Armstrong with Earl Hines or Ornette Coleman with Charlie Haden.
Since what they are playing is often bitonal or atonal, naturally the music will not appeal to all jazz listeners, and of course there are several moments here, as in Satoko Fujii's new album Moon on the Lake, where the music actually leans more towards contemporary classical music than to jazz, but that's the beauty of it. Nothing is played here for ego's sake, for showing off. At no point in this album do you feel that either artist is trying to outdo the other, in part because they realized early on that no matter what one of them played, the other could come up with a complementary idea, and this is even true of the duo at their wildest, as they are in Languid/the Spinning Song. It would be easy to dismiss what Attias, in particular, is doing here as unstructured noise, but there are notes here and they do coalesce into something phenomenal even if it seems momentarily over-the-top, and both artists are smart enough not to let that mood dominate the proceedings for too long. They pull back into quietude while continuing to create interesting shapes and sounds that have meaning. Indeed, at the 7:55 mark, Nabatov suddenly begins playing an absolutely lovely if evasive tune that could have come from Bill Evans or Jaki Byard, except that he then suddenly begins to double and quadruple the tempo and develop it in ways that Evans only did in his earlier, more experimental days. Attias picks up on this and thus, when he enters, he is fully in the mood, and it surprised even me to hear the two of them suddenly drop the tempo at exactly the same moment and indulge in a duo-improvisation that included both lyrical and rhythmic elements. There is also Glances, in which Nabatov plays the inner strings of his piano, creating a percussive sound much like musique concrete, during which Attias does not simply splatter notes against the wall to see if any of them stick but, rather, creates fascinating lines and melodic fragments over it.
Of course, I could give such details of each and every encounter in this splendid album, but in a way that's spoiling the fun for first-time listeners. This was a miraculous encounter, and I sincerely hope that Attias and Nabatov follow up on it with more mischief in the future."-Lynn René Bayley, Art Music Lounge
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