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Four Letter Words (Piet / Wark / Harris): Blow (Amalgam)

The Chicago trio of tenor saxophonist Jake Wark, pianist Matt Piet and drummer Bill Harris in a forceful and exuberant trio that grew out of the weekly free improvisation workshop "Sound of the City" at Constellation, initially a collective that developed a set of compositions from each member, presented here in their exceptional and exciting debut album.

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product information:

UPC: 88295352543

Label: Amalgam
Catalog ID: AMA003
Squidco Product Code: 30576

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded in August, 2015, by Bill Harris.


Matt Piet-piano

Jake Wark-tenor saxophone

Bill Harris-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Matt Piet is an improvising pianist, composer, and music director. Matt was born and raised in suburban Chicago, began his studies as a pianist and vocalist at age ten, and was a proficient classical pianist and accompanist by his early teens. Piet set aside his classical studies to focus on jazz, improvisation, and composition during his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Piet returned to Chicago in 2014, and has since been an active participant in Chicago's rich jazz and improvised music scene. In addition to playing many ad hoc improvised performances as a leader and a sideman, he has three working trios: Matt Piet Trio, Four Letter Words, and the Rempis/Piet/Daisy trio. Piet works actively as a Music Director and accompanist throughout the Chicagoland area."

-Matt Piet Website (

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"Jake Wark is a saxophonist, composer, and improviser based in Chicago. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Jake earned his bachelor's degree in saxophone performance from Nazareth College in 2014, studying classical saxophone with Chisato Eda Marling and jazz improvisation with Paul Smoker. Upon graduation, Jake moved to Chicago to attend graduate school at DePaul University where he studied with Scott Burns. At this time, he began to participate in the city's vibrant improvised music scene. He performs regularly in the Chicago area with Four Letter Words, a collaborative trio co-led with drummer Bill Harris and pianist Matt Piet. Four Letter Words' debut album, Blow, was included on Budd Kopman's "Best Releases of 2016" list. [...] In addition to these projects, Jake can be heard performing with the Jake Wark/Ben Pedersen Quintet, the experimental trio Bowlcut, Gerritt Hatcher's Refunction, and other ensembles and improvised groupings various venues in Chicago."

-Jayceland / Bop Shop (

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"Bill Harris is a percussionist, composer, improviser, and audio engineer from Pittsburgh currently based in Chicago. He also operates and produces for Amalgam, a Chicago-based collective.

(B. 1987, Pittsburgh, PA)

Bill has been active in Chicago's music communities since 2011, working at the intersection of free improvisation, jazz, noise, rock, and country. His music has been presented at Constellation, Elastic Arts, The Bop Stop, The Hungry Brain, The Hideout, Experimental Sound Studios, Spot Tavern, Beat Kitchen, Empty Bottle, and Comfort Station.

Bill is humbled to have played or recorded with Jim Baker, Dave Rempis, Kent Kessler, Brian Sandstrom, Ed Wilkerson, Carol Genetti, Angel Bat Dawid, Jeb Bishop, Peter Maunu, Josh Berman, Brandon Lopez, Keefe Jackson, and Jason Roebke, among many other experimental and improvisatory musicians and artists.

Bill is constantly inspired by and thankful to work with his frequent collaborators: Ishmael Ali, Jake Wark, Timothee Quost, PT Bell, Gerrit Hatcher, Eli Namay, Matt Piet, Brianna Tong, Wills McKenna, David Fletcher, Jess McIntosh, Aaron Smith, Jeff Kimmel, Adam Shead, Molly Jones, Jakob Heinemann, and many others...

In 2015 he started Amalgam, a 100% artist-run collective and label dedicated to showcasing works of improvised and experimental music in Chicago. Bill is also an audio engineer working in both studio and live situations, and operates an independent studio in Chicago with engineering, mixing, mastering, and production credits on labels such as Amalgam, Astral Spirits, No Index, 577 Records and Ears&Eyes."

-Bill Harris Website (

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track listing:

1. Blow 1:42

2. Minor Yours 8:29

3. Lugubrious 7:32

4. I Heard You Singing In A Tree 8:58

5. The Vampire 8:54

6. Naissance 9:20

7. Lecherous Howls 7:05

8. Blow 2:31
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The inception of Four Letter Words as a collective, improvising trio was borne out of time spent by all three members as burgeoning artists in the vibrant Chicago jazz and improvised music scene. The weekly free improvisation workshop "Sound of the City" at Constellation was a crucial part of the meeting and eventual collaboration between Jake Wark, Matt Piet, and Bill Harris. The first performance of the trio was an unrehearsed, twenty-minute set, part of the 3-On-3 series at Constellation. The 3-On-3 series features improvising artists performing together as a unit for the first time.

The success of the first performance, and the shared desire to form a working group, prompted Four Letter Words to assemble as a working collective. Initially, the aim was to create only improvised music. However, after several improvised practice sessions it became clear that compositions would aid the improvisational process. Within a few months, enough compositions penned by each member of the trio were brought to the table to allow a debut album to be recorded.

Although the group had only been playing together for a few months, a collective sound had developed, and a recorded document seemed necessary to keep the compositional and improvisational process moving with forward momentum. Blow was the result of that early desire to share the collective's process. The tracks presented on Blow are varied: some are through-composed "heads" played in time, some are improvisations over vamps, and others are the result of skeletal forms featuring distinct melodic fragments that frame the plunge into collective improvisation. All tracks are first or second takes, and therefore showcase the highly improvisatory ethic of the trio.

In the end, Blow is a solid document of a group in its early stage of development."-Amalgam

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Throw Neck
Piet, Matt
Throw Neck
Four Letter Words (Piet / Wark / Harris)
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Rempis / Piet / Daisy
Throw Tomatoes
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