The Squid's Ear Magazine


Blaser, Samuel: Spring Rain (Whirlwind)

Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser pays tribute to clarinetist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, in a quartet with Russ Lossing on piano & keys, Drew Gress on double bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums, merging Giuffre's lyrical forms to create new and innovative compositions.
 

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Personnel:



Samuel Blaser-trombone

Russ Lossing-piano, Fender rhodes, wurlitzer, minimoog

Drew Gress-doublebass

Gerald Cleaver-drums


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UPC: 5052442006046

Label: Whirlwind
Catalog ID: WHI-CD-4670
Squidco Product Code: 20865

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Tracks 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12 recorded at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey on January 3rd and 4th, 2014 by Dave Darlington.

Tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 10 recorded at Teldex Studio in Berlin, Germany on December 19th, 2014 by Tobias Lehmann.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser in a tribute to US clarinettist and composer Jimmy Giuffre. Intentionally blurring the boundaries between jazz, blues, free improvisation and contemporary classical, along with an ear for strong melody, Blaser is a musician who seeks to widen the musical scope of his instrument while retaining its tonal identity.

His own playing is rooted in classical training and with beginnings in blues and swing he gained a scholarship to study in the United States. His early penchant for breaking free of constraints has resulted in a number of successful collaborations, most notably with his established, trusted quartet of Russ Lossing (piano/keyboards), Drew Gress (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).

Following an already impressive back-catalog - most recently his informed interpretation of works by medieval composer Guillame de Machaut (Consort in Motion: A Mirror to Machaut, 2013) - on Spring Rain Blaser takes the melodic focus and considerable but perhaps lesser-known output of Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) to inspire new compositions and interpretations which bristle with spontaneity and invention.

Possessing a lyrical tone as well as a mastery of multiphonics (often achieving extraordinary, gritty results with these carefully-crafted embouchured/sung clusters), Blaser duels with the myriad keyboard colors of Lossing (including Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes and Minimoog), driven by intuitive, intelligent bass and drums.

Artistically directed by the renowned Robert Sadin (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Sting), Blaser's latest expression as a leader revels in the possibility of free improvisation which emanates as much from the influence of Stravinsky and Morton Feldman as it does high-grooving swing and blues. The diversity of the album is exemplified by the unpredictable, increasing tumult of "Missing Mark Suetterlyn", the breezy almost Ellingtonian swing of "Temporarily", the dark Bartokian spaciality of "Umbra" and then riotous, improv-fusion-spirited "The First Snow".

Blaser thrives on continually developing and communicating new expressions in improvisation, keen for audiences to discover and appreciate the trombone in other forms. Spring Rain clearly displays that intent with an immersive soundworld which rewards with deeper understanding.

He explains: "With this album I would like to show that the trombone can be melodic and have various forms of expression, and that I am not just interested in free jazz - you can't categorize my music in one space. I want people to know that there is jazz, blues, classical music, beautiful melodies and no boundaries."-Whirlwind


Artist Biographies

"[...] Born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland - a lesser-known but no less significant jazz metropolis which was, for a time, home to expatriate Americans Sidney Bechet and Kenny Clarke, as well as Swiss jazz trombonist Raymond Droz - Blaser has also spent considerable time living in New York City and currently resides in Berlin; truly an international musician, then, in clear defiance of boundaries cultural, musical and stylistic. Beginning trombone lessons at the age of 9, he "couldn't go past third position and had to have a trolley to carry trombone because it was too heavy," says Blaser. Still, with plenty of music in the Blaser household, where he was the middle of three children - ranging from Swiss folk music to American R&B and jazz - Blaser progressed quickly, entering the local conservatory at 14 and graduating seven years later in 2002 after receiving a number of awards in both the jazz and classical spheres, including the 2000 Benny Golson Prize.

Continuing private studies, Blaser began a number of significant associations, including the heralded Vienna Art Orchestra and European Radio Big Band, leading to a Fulbright scholarship which enabled him to study in the United States at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, going on to win the J.J. Johnson Prize, as well as both the Public Prize and Jury's Favorite Player awards at the 2006 Fribourg Jazz Festival.

All of these diverse accomplishments have ultimately - and inevitably - led to Blaser finding a personal nexus where disparate elements like Indian Tihi and Wagnerian opera meet. Blaser's impressive improvisational élan is predicated on instrumental mastery that is nothing more than the means to very musical ends. Together with his equally unfettered quartet, Blaser continues to expand the purview of jazz, redefining it in the new millennium as it enters its second century of existence.

Beyond Blaser's ability to combine knotty compositional form with incendiary improvisational prowess in the context of his own music, his unfettered yet ever-collaborative approach has resulted in a number of significant associations, among them his ongoing work with Swiss percussion legend Pierre Favre; a much-lauded duo with pianist Malcolm Braff; touring in 2012 as a member of François Houle's recent 5+1 group, and heard on the French Canadian clarinetist's Genera (Songlines, 2012); and recording/performing with Berlin-based Canadian saxophonist Peter van Huffel's HuffLiGNoN group with singer Sophie Tassignon. Blaser has also shared the stage with artists including trombonist David Taylor, bassist Michael Blake, drummer John Hollenbeck and pianist Hal Galper. It's no surprise that Rene Laanen of USA Trombone Online has called Blaser" one of today´s finest trombonists."

2013 will see Blaser touring with two new trios: one that, in addition to Marc Ducret, will also feature Danish drummer Peter Bruun; and another featuring French pianist Benoit Delbecq and American drummer Gerry Hemingway. Equally important, Blaser will also reunite his Consort in Motion (Kind of Blue, 2011) Quartet with pianist Russ Lossing, Belgian reed player Joachim Badenhorst, bassist Drew Gress and Hemingway, who replaces the sadly deceased Paul Motian. That record - Blaser's first and only to include a pianist, marrying the seemingly disparate elements of Renaissance and Baroque period composition with more open-ended jazz improvisation - was praised by All About Jazz's Troy Collins as " Fearlessly modern, yet respectfully regal." Collins continues, asserting that "Blaser's adventurous arrangements and reinterpretations offer the best of both worlds, enriching the raw impetuousness of avant-garde jazz with the proven sophistication of ageless classical forms. Consort in Motion is a high-water mark in the enduring lineage of the Third Stream, and all the more inspiring for the focus of its vision."

Meanwhile, with the release of As the Sea - like Boundless, a live recording but one culled from a single performance - Blaser reaps the rewards of greater trust and personal camaraderie built with Ducret, Oester and Cleaver through additional touring, following the release of their debut recording. "The music is quite different from the first record," says Blaser, "because things are more written. It's a little more complex rhythmically, too. But it's crazy, because I can play anything - a single note, even - and everybody will move with me. It's pretty intense."

Between recording and touring with his own groups and collaborating in other leaders' ensembles, Blaser's career continues an upward trajectory that seems to have no end in sight. "The world of music fascinates me to no end, and I´m determined to take one journey after another with my instrument and work," says Blaser. "It´s all about discovery and communicating new ideas. Believe me, I´m proof that a shiny trombone can send a message right to your heart and change your life." "

-Samuel Blaser Website (https://www.samuelblaser.com/biography/)
2/26/2024

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

"Russ Lossing (born 1960) is an American jazz pianist, composer, improviser, arranger, educator, scholar.

Early life

Lossing was born in Ohio in 1960, and is from Columbus, Ohio. He had classical piano lessons from the age of 5 and began studying jazz aged 13 in Columbus at the Jazz and Contemporary Workshop with Dave Wheeler. After high school Lossing went on the road with a wide variety of bands including jazz, funk, rock, pop and country music for four years before attending university. He obtained a Bachelor of Music in piano at Ohio State University in 1986. In the early 1980s meetings with composer John Cage had a big effect:

We only had two occasions to get together and talk, but any time spent with him was utterly valuable. He read through my scores we played piano together. His thing was creating, not emulating: don't copy; trust YOURSELF. I was already going in this direction but this experience, listening to Cage's concepts and philosophy in this setting, made so much sense.

Later life and career

Lossing has been part of the New York jazz scene since 1986. In 1988 he earned a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. He has led or co-led numerous bands, including: his own trio with Masa Kamaguchi and Billy Mintz; Three-Part Invention with bassist Mark Helias and trumpeter Ralph Alessi; and duos with saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Gerry Hemingway, and guitarist Ben Monder. Others are: trio with Paul Motian and Ed Schuller (Dreamer and As It Grows); trio with Mat Maneri and Mark Dresser (Metal Rat); trio with John Hebert and Jeff Williams (Phrase 6); quartet with Loren Stillman, John Hebert and Eric McPherson (Personal Tonal); King Vulture with Adam Kolker, Matt Pavolka and Dayeon Seok; and duos with saxophonist Loren Stillman, bassist John Hebert (Line Up,Hatology), and saxophonost Michael Adkins.

Lossing played with drummer Paul Motian over a period of 12 years and recorded Drum Music, a solo piano tribute album to him in 2011. The JazzTimes reviewer of Drum Music commented that "his two-fisted takes on 'Fiasco', 'Dance' and 'Drum Music' capture the great drummer's unpredictable and audacious rhythmic pulse. Lossing's stark re-imaginings of [... other Motian pieces] all vibrate with a new spirit of exploration." Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag wrote that "Drum Music is a stunning improvisational solo recital, a convincing plunge into 10 Motian compositions. This is music in between contemporary jazz and up to date tonal concert music."

Lossing has performed in some of the world's leading jazz festivals including the London, Vienna, Harlem, Cully (Switzerland), Toronto and Venice (Italy) Jazz festivals to name just a few. He has also performed in jazz clubs in New York and Europe including The Village Vanguard (with Paul Motian), Blue Note NYC, The Jazz Standard, Birdland, Porgy and Bess (Vienna), Unterfahrt (Munich), Jazz Club Ferrara (Italy) and many more over a span of 25 years.

In February 2016, Lossing was invited by John Zorn to do a week long residency at The Stone NYC in which he presented 12 of his ensembles over 6 nights.

Lossing has composed over 400 pieces of music in many genres including jazz, contemporary classical (solo piano works, string quartets, orchestral works and song cycles), song writing in various styles, pop, rock, funk, fusion (in early life), film scoring (30+ films).[citation needed] In 2015, he founded the record label Aqua Piazza."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Lossing)
2/26/2024

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

"Drew Gress (born November 20, 1959) is an American jazz double-bassist and composer born in Trenton, New Jersey, raised in the Philadelphia area, and currently based in New York City.

Biography

Gress became interested in jazz and the double bass while a teenager, joining the Pennsbury Concert Jazz Band, a nationally-prominent high school jazz ensemble, in 1975, spending two years as bassist and arranger for the group. His interest in composing original material for large ensembles, such as those of Johnny Richards, Billy May, and Pat Williams, led him to Baltimore's Towson State University in 1977, where he studied composition and counterpoint with Hank Levy, known for his work with Don Ellis and Stan Kenton. While at Towson, Gress established a playing relationship with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, with whom he cofounded Joint Venture with Paul Smoker and Phil Haynes. They released three albums on Enja Records between 1987 and 1994.

During the 1980s in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, he played with Sonny Stitt, Clifford Jordan, Albert Dailey, Mose Allison, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, and pianist Marc Copland, with whom he still plays today. He also served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, Towson State University, and the Baltimore School for the Arts. He formed a quartet, Tekke, in 1989 with David Kane, Glenn Cashman, and Michael Smith.

In 1997, he cofounded the cooperative improvising trio Paraphrase with saxophonist/composer Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Together, they pursued a compositional approach to free improvisational practice. They recorded three live albums together and toured extensively.

In 1998, he released his first album as leader, Heyday, with his band Jagged Sky (featuring David Binney, Ben Monder, and Kenny Wollesen). 2001 saw the release of Spin & Drift with Uri Caine, Berne, and Rainey, in which he played pedal steel guitar for the first time.

Earlier in the 1990s, he served tenures as artist in residence at University of Colorado-Boulder and at Russia's St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Since 1992, Gress has maintained an extensive touring schedule, traveling to Europe, Asia, and South America. Those with whom he has and continues to work include Tim Berne, Ravi Coltrane, Uri Caine, John Hollenbeck, Fred Hersch, Marc Copland, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Jack DeJohnette, John Surman, Ray Anderson, Erik Friedlander, Kenny Werner, Bill Carrothers, Ralph Alessi, Tony Malaby, Steve Lehman, and Edsel Gomez. To date, he has appeared on over 140 recordings, 4 of which have received Grammy nominations.

Gress' own ensembles have toured Europe four times since 2002, in addition to isolated festival appearances in Italy and Portugal. In 2004, the UK's BBC Radio and London's Guardian selected his quartet's live radio broadcast as Jazz Concert of the Year.

Composition awards include an NEA grant (1990), funding from Meet the Composer (2003), a Chamber Music America New Works Grant (2005), a CMA French-American Exchange Grant (2007), and an Encore Grant from that same organization (2008). He continues to compose for larger groups and has begun experimenting with virtual synthesizers."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Gress)
2/26/2024

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

"Gerald Cleaver (born May 4, 1963) is an African-American jazz drummer from Detroit, Michigan. Cleaver's father is drummer John Cleaver Jr., originally from Springfield, Ohio, and his mother was from Greenwood, Mississippi. Gerald had six older siblings. Cleaver joined the jazz faculty at the University of Michigan in 1995. He has performed or recorded with Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Roscoe Mitchell, Miroslav Vitous, Michael Formanek, Tomasz Sta ko, Franck Amsallem and others.

Under the name Veil of Names, Cleaver released an album called Adjust on the Fresh Sounds New Talent label in 2001. It featured Maneri, Ben Monder, Andrew Bishop, Craig Taborn and Reid Anderson and was a Best Debut Recording Nominee by the Jazz Journalists Association. Cleaver currently leads the groups Uncle June, Black Host, Violet Hour and NiMbNl as well as working as a sideman with many different artists."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Cleaver_(musician))
2/26/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Cry Want 4:08

2. Missing Mark Suetterlyn 5:40

3. Temporarily 3:47

4. Homage 1:07

5. Umbra 2:12

6. The First Snow 3:45

7. Scoottin' About 2:24

8. Trudgin' 5:29

9. Spring Rain 5:39

10. Trippin' 3:47

11. Counterparts 3:22

12. Jesus Maria 8:01

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz

Search for other titles on the label:
Whirlwind.


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