The Squid's Ear Magazine

Rothenberg, Ned Double Band: Parting (Moers Music)


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product information:

UPC: 4012770030121

Label: Moers Music
Catalog ID: 03012 CD
Squidco Product Code: 5527

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1996
Country: Germany
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Water Music, in Hoboken, New Jersey, on May 28th and 29th, 1996, by David Voight.


Ned Rothenberg-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone

Thomas Chapin-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone

Jerome Harris-electric guitar, bass

Tony Scherr-electric bass, acoustic bass

Michael Sarin-drums

Samm Bennett-drums

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Finally. Although recorded in May 1996, it took eight years for the German Moers Music label to release Parting, the third and apparently last CD by the Ned Rothenberg Double Band. Given the upbeat slammin' electric jazz-funk heard on this 2004 disc, one might assume that a CD title suggesting separation and loss was not in Rothenberg's mind when this session was originally cut. But of course, in early 1998 Rothenberg's saxophonist/flutist partner in this sextet, Thomas Chapin, died of leukemia, and the life and career of a fine musician -- not to mention a warm, friendly, open, and giving person -- were cut tragically short in the midst of an upward trajectory. And so Parting presents the dichotomy of a freewheeling blast of screaming energy infused with poignancy and melancholy; the disc is both a record of a incendiary band at its peak and a sad reminder of what the world has lost through Chapin's passing. Across the disc, one finds the Double Band as funked up and powerful as on either of the group's previous Moers releases, Overlays and Real and Imagined Time. Chapin and Rothenberg are there, of course, respectively at center-left and center-right in the mix, and also returning is the phenomenal Jerome Harris on electric guitar and electric bass. The other three musicians are Double Band newcomers, although no strangers to any follower of the '90s downtown scene: bassist Tony Scherr and drummers Michael Sarin and Samm Bennett. Together they all form a tight and propulsive unit, the two reedmen locking in with the double-barreled rhythm section to blast out Rothenberg's riffs and melodies in unison, counterpoint, and harmony, then breaking out into fiery solo statements and locking back up again, mirror images in the band's architecture but always maintaining a strong sense of personal identity. And it must be said that, for all of Chapin's explosive and beautiful contributions, this was composer/bandleader Rothenberg's ensemble. The leader's apex on thisdisc comes during "Crosscut and Rip," when the entire band's skewed energy is seemingly channeled into Rothenberg's stunning solo circular-breathing technique; the unfolding variations of the altoist's multi-layered ostinatos sound like at least three separate saxophonists playing simultaneously. Still, Rothenberg gave all his bandmembers the opportunity to shine, and their highlights here are many -- Harris' burning electric guitar solo as the band segues from free-form to funk-rocking rhythms during "End Over End"; Chapin ripping flurries of notes from his alto as the band swings to the breaking point in "Snowball"; the flailing tandem drum break later in the same track (by the way, hearing Chapin with Sarin on the skins will always be a treat); Scherr's fuzz bass on "Chemical Peel," recalling Hugh Hopper and the Canterbury scene as easily as downtown N.Y.C. But Parting is not all fire from start to finish; the understated "Last Dance" floats more than it punches and jabs, with someparticularly lovely soprano from Chapin. This piece would be poignant even if Chapin were still here among us. In a sense he is, most certainly in the mind and heart of Rothenberg, as the leader's liner notes and CD dedication to his departed partner and friend make clear. Then there is the foldout package's center photo, with Rothenberg's head bowed over his soprano and Chapin, head slightly tilted and completely immersed in his flute, closely behind the saxman's left shoulder. More than words, this photo reveals that the spirit of Thomas Chapin will be right there with Ned Rothenberg on many nights to come."- Dave Lynch, All Music

Artist Biographies

"Composer/Performer Ned Rothenberg has been internationally acclaimed for both his solo and ensemble music, presented for the past 33 years on 5 continents. He performs primarily on alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the shakuhachi - an endblown Japanese bamboo flute. His solo work utilizes an expanded palette of sonic language, creating a kind of personal idiom all its own. In an ensemble setting, he leads the trio Sync, with Jerome Harris, guitars and Samir Chatterjee, tabla, works with the Mivos string quartet playing his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and collaborates around the world with fellow improvisors. Recent recordings include this Quintet, The World of Odd Harmonics, Ryu Nashi (new music for shakuhachi), and Inner Diaspora, all on John Zorn's Tzadik label, as well as Live at Roulette with Evan Parker, and The Fell Clutch, on Rothenberg's Animul label."

-Ned Rothenberg Website (

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"Jerome Harris has won international recognition as one of the more versatile and penetrating stylists of his generation on both guitar and bass guitar.

Jerome's first major professional performances were as bass guitarist with Sonny Rollins in 1978; from 1988 to 1994 he was Rollins' guitarist, and appears on five of his recordings. Over the past two decades, Jerome has also recorded and/or performed live on six continents with such jazz notables as Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Ray Anderson, Don Byron, Bobby Previte, Oliver Lake, Amina Claudine Myers, Bob Stewart, George Russell, Julius Hemphill, and Bob Moses.

His extensive international work has included several stints in Japan with Sonny Rollins, as well as tours sponsored by the U.S. State Department: to six southeastern African countries with saxophonist Sam Newsome and guitarist Marvin Sewell, to India and southeast Asia with flutist Jamie Baum and guitarist Kenny Wessel, to India and several Middle Eastern countries with vibraphonist Jay Hoggard's group, and to five African nations with saxophonist Oliver Lake's reggae/jazz/funk band "Jump Up."

In 1999, Harris served as arranger, rhythm guitarist and assistant to musical director Vernon Reid in the "Joni's Jazz" tribute concert staged in New York's Central Park--with Joni Mitchell herself in attendance--accompanying singers as diverse in style as Chaka Khan, Jane Siberry, Duncan Sheik and P.M. Dawn. Other Harris credits include a Broadway stint as guitarist in the South African R&B/rock musical Kat and the Kings, as well as work on industrial, commercial and film score dates for Galen Communications Group, Rick Lyon Music, and Richard Eisenstein.

Over the years, Jerome Harris has appeared on more than fifty recordings, making for a lengthy and wide-ranging discography. His most recent CD as a leader is Rendezvous--the first-ever jazz release by the audio connoisseur magazine Stereophile--which captures the drive and grace of his quintet in gorgeous high-resolution sound. On Hidden in Plain View (New World), Jerome's acoustic bass guitar underpins an all-star group reinterpreting compositions by jazz trailblazer Eric Dolphy. In Passing (Muse) showcases the first of Jerome's groups to utilize a reeds-trombone-vibes-bass-drums line-up. Jerome's debut as a leader was Algorithms (Minor Music), featuring saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, who has also appeared on the three subsequent Harris releases.

Among Harris's appearances on record as featured sideman are Don Byron's A Fine Line: Arias and Lieder (Blue Note), Malinke's Dance, by Marty Ehrlich's Travelers Tales (Omnitone), Jack DeJohnette's Oneness (ECM), the Ray Anderson Lapis Lazuli Band's Funkorific (Enja) and Ned Rothenberg & Sync's Inner Diaspora (Tzadik), Harbinger (Animul), and Port of Entry (Intuition). Each showcases Jerome's expressive range, stylistic insight, and creativity.

Jerome Harris conceived and organized "Living Time": George Russell's Musical Life and Legacy, an in-depth examination of the work and life of legendary composer/bandleader/theorist/educator George Russell (1923-2009). While Russell's innovative music, challenging ideas and pivotal position in jazz history have been celebrated around the world, he remains somewhat under-recognized in the United States. This event provided a major appraisal of Russell's multi-faceted career and his important contributions to African American improvisational art music. Panelists included David Baker, Gary Giddins, Cameron Brown, Joe Hunt, Stanton Davis, Marty Ehrlich, Ken Schaphorst, Ben Schwendener and Russell biographer Duncan Heining. Professors Ingrid Monson of Harvard and John Howland of Rutgers served as panel moderators. The event was presented by Boston's New England Conservatory of Music on March 21, 2010, as part of its celebration of the 40th anniversary of its jazz studies program, the first fully accredited jazz program at a music conservatory; George Russell taught at NEC from 1969 to 2004.

Harris's scholarly interests have led to an essay, "Jazz on the Global Stage," published in the anthology The African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective, edited by Ingrid Monson (Garland). In this study, he offers an insider's view of the history, present state and future implications of the spread and flourishing of jazz in locales far from its African-American birthplace. He is currently (fall 2009; 2007-2008) adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, teaching courses on the history and social context of jazz and blues.

Born and raised in New York, Jerome began his instrument studies on accordion, then played violin in a middle-school orchestra. Self-taught on guitar as well as bass guitar, as a teenager he immersed himself in a broad range of musics--rock, pop, blues, country, gospel, folk and R&B--as both fan and player.

After earning a B.A. in psychology and social relations at Harvard College in 1973, Harris attended New England Conservatory of Music as a scholarship student in jazz guitar. He graduated with honors in 1977.

In addition to his work on guitar and bass guitar, Jerome performs as a singer, has done voice-over work for audio production houses, and studies several percussion instruments."

-Jerome Harris Website (

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"Over the last twenty-five years, drummer Michael Sarin has been at the center of New York City's genre-bending jazz and improvisation community. His versatility and musical wit helped forge long associations with forward-looking artists Thomas Chapin, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Ben Allison, and David Krakauer.

Born in 1965, Michael was raised on Bainbridge Island, WA-a ferryboat ride from Seattle. His interest in music and the drums came early, nourished by both the record collections of his parents and older sister, and by the AM radio he received at age seven.

His formal music education began during high school with drummer Dave Coleman, Sr. He went on to study drums and percussion with Tom Collier at the University of Washington, and later with master drummer, Jerry Granelli.

Since moving to New York in 1989, Michael's unique style and approach to the drum set has been highly sought after by NYC and European musicians looking to expand the definitions of jazz and improvised music. He has contributed to recordings by the aforementioned artists as well as those of Frank Carlberg, Anthony Coleman, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Helias, Denman Maroney, Simon Nabatov, Mario Pavone, and Ned Rothenberg--recordings found on numerous music critics' Top Ten CD year-end lists.

Michael performs all over the world--in major and minor festivals; concert halls famous and infamous, big and small. He can be heard on recent recordings of Frank Carlberg, Mark Dresser, Joe Fiedler, Erik Friedlander, David Krakauer, and Leslie Pintchik."

-Michael Sarin Website (

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Track Listing:

1. End Over End 8:20

2. Snowball 6:44

3. Crosscut And Rip 9:10

4. Fool's Parade 7:59

5. Chemical Peel 10:27

6. Last Dance 7:48

7. Clav-Hay 4:55

8. Faux Reed 3:29

Related Categories of Interest:

Rothenberg, Ned
Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
December 2005

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