The Squid's Ear Magazine

Borgmann, Thomas / Max Johnson / Willi Kellers: One For Cisco [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Recorded live at the New York Tenor Sax Festival 2015 in Ibeam, Brooklyn, the German trio of saxophonist Thomas Borgmann, bassist Max Johnson and drummer Willi Kellers perform the two part "One for Cisco", a soulful work with an open free-bop attitude of modern creative language.

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product information:

Limited edition of 300 copies.

UPC: 4779022078477

Label: NoBusiness
Catalog ID: NBLP91
Squidco Product Code: 21740

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: Lithuania
Packaging: LP
Recorded live at the New York Tenor Sax Festival 2015, Ibeam-Brooklyn, New York, on January 31st, 2015, by Randy Thaler.


Thomas Borgmann–soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, toy-melodica

Max Johnson–bass

Willi Kellers–drums, voice

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"One For Cisco is a fine live recording from the New York Tenor Sax Festival 2015, teaming regular sparring partners Thomas Borgmann and Willi Kellers with the New York bassist Max Johnson, whose The Prisoner inspired suite was a highlight of 2014. The opening moments of this limited edition LP make the listener feel as if they've just walked into a club, as the band starts up a mid-tempo free blues and someone gives instructions in German. Johnson's youthful energy and invention brings out the best in these veteran German players. A solo feature some ten minutes in highlights the sturm und drang of his arco playing, where deep, grinding tones are strafed with harmonics. Kellers gives him space, keeping free time with ride cymbal taps and irregular bass pulses. An increase in drum pressure gives Borgmann the cue to come back in, but he resists the temptation to go full pelt, instead picking up his soprano for an angular improvisation that gradually turns into a brisk free-bop dash. The second side proceeds from understated, abstract beginnings, with Borgmann coaxing shrill whistle-like tones from his soprano. Tumbling tom patterns soon emerge, with Johnson essaying a plaintive melody for bowed bass that turns increasingly stormy. As the rhythm section pulls back from the brink, Borgmann returns with some exploratory tenor phrases that gradually develop into expressive lines. After another mini-climax, it all falls away to a whisper, before Borgmann begins a lyrical improvisation built around echoes of Charles Mingus's 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat'. Johnson channels his inner Charlie Haden with a vigorous avant-blues strut while Kellers whips up a small storm of controlled tom detonations and splashing cymbals, bringing a final bout of measured free blowing and boppish licks from Borgmann. For the final moments, Borgmann breaks out a melodica, playing a wistful chordal motif while the rhythm section gives it their best Sly & Robbie. A lovely set, artfully presented by treasured Lithuanian label NoBusiness."-Stewart Smith, The Quietus

Thomas Borgmann

"Borgmann began his career in the early 1980s, working mainly with the Berlin Art Ensemble with Nick Steinhaus (participating in the 1981 South American tour for the Goethe-Institut and the 1982 Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen). He went on to the Sirone Sextet in New York in 1987. He also spent some time playing with the Hidden Quartet (with Dietmar Diesner, Erik Balke, and Jonas Akerblom), and the Noise & Toys (with Valery Dudkin, Sascha Kondraschkin). In 1991 Borgmann founded the Orkestra Kith 'n Kin, bringing together Hans Reichel, John Tchicai, Pat Thomas, Jay Oliver, Mark Sanders, and Lol Coxhill, amongst others. A year later came Ruf der Heimat, which included Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky (Ruf der Heimat, 1995) and Peter Brötzmann (Machine Kaput, 1996, both Konnex). Borgmann has taken part in trio Blue Zoo, with Peter Brötzmann and Borah Bergman (Ride into the Blue, 1996 and Blue Zoo, 1997, both Konnex). Throughout 1984, and continuing until 1996, he also organized the STAKKATO festival in Berlin.

In 1995 Borgmann began working with Wilber Morris and Denis Charles, forming the BMC-Trio. After Charles' death in 1998, Borgmann and Morris teamed with Reggie Nicholson creating the "BMN-Trio", which continued performing until 2002. Borgmann also participated in the quartet Alliance with Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, DJ Jayrope, and Michael Griener. Borgmann and Brötzmann meet the New York rhythm team of William Parker and Rashid Bakr on Cooler Suite (2003, Grob). Initially teaming with Tony Buck, and Joe Williamson, Borgmann formed the trio "Boom Box", releasing their album Jazz in 2011. He continues to perform with the group, now playing with Willi Kellers and Akira Ando. He also continues to tour international Jazz festivals around the world.

During his career, Borgmann has taken part in concerts, tours, and recordings with artists including Peter Brötzmann, Borah Bergman, Paul Lovens, Tony Buck, Paul Lytton, Evan Parker, John Tchicai, Conny Bauer, Johannes Bauer, Charles Gayle, Heinz Sauer, Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton, William Parker, Jason Hwang, Thurston Moore, Shoji Hano, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Rashied Bakr, Roy Campbell, Perry Robinson, Kip Hanrahans Latin Groove, and Jean-Paul Bourelly. Thomas Borgmann has twice been the recipient of the Berlin Jazz-Grant, first in 1994, and again in 1996.

Max Johnson

Max Johnson is a bassist composer and bandleader based in New York City. Growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, Johnson learned about music at an early age from his father, Glenn Johnson, drummer/composer of the band Leisure Class. At age 13, Max took up the electric bass, and after performing with local bands in Montclair, NJ, he joined the School of Rock in 2004, where he had the incredible opportunity to tour internationally and perform with Jon Anderson, John Wetton, the Butthole Surfers, Adrian Belew, Vernon Reid, Andrew W.K., Ronnie Spector, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and a long list of others. Johnson then attended the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in 2008, where he studied bass with masters Henry Grimes, Mark Helias, Reggie Workman, Cameron Brown & Marji Danilow; and composition with Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Berne & Bill Kirchner. While studying there, he began performing professionally in New York City, building a name for himself as a bassist and bandleader in the improvised music world, and a first call bass player in the bluegrass scene.

Although young in age, Johnson has already crafted a unique sound and vision as an improviser, and is rich in experience, having performed with John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Nels Cline, Candido Camero, Henry Grimes, William Parker, Butch Morris, Karl Berger, Bobby Sanabria, Sylvie Courvoisier, Erik Friedlander, Mary Halvorson, Joseph Jarman, Kenny Wollesen, Elliott Sharp, Angelica Sanchez, and many others. As a bassist with a non-stop touring schedule, Johnson has performed over one thousand concerts throughout North America and Europe, including top festivals and performing arts centers such as Lincoln Center, the United Nations, Lollapalooza, Quebec City Festival, Bern Jazz Festival, and many others. Max Johnson has been featured as a sideman on over twenty-five recordings, including the platinum-selling Night Castle by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

An active bandleader, Max Johnson has six records to his name: Elevated Vegetation (FMR), The Invisible Trio & Something Familiar (Fresh Sound-New Talent), featuring Kirk Knuffke on cornet & Ziv Ravitz on drums; The Prisoner (NoBusiness) featuring Ingrid Laubrock, Mat Maneri & Tomas Fujiwara; and Quartet (NotTwo), with Mark Whitecage on alto saxophone and clarinet, Steve Swell on trombone, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Big Eyed Rabbit, his collaborative trio with Ross Martin and Jeff Davis, also released their debut album in 2014, Big Eyed Rabbit (NotTwo). His albums have been positively reviewed in the New York Times, NYC Jazz Record, JazzTimes, and other publications. El Intruso International Critic's Poll voted Max Johnson #1 Newcomer Musician in the 2012, and #2 Bassist and #4 Musician of the year in their 2014 poll.

Willi Kellers

Willi Kellers is a German drummer of modern creative jazz and new improvised music. Keller studied music at the Universities of Münster and Detmold. He then worked as a theater composer for theaters in Bochum, Cologne, Hamburg, Basel and Vienna active. Since 1980, he joined in duet with Peter Brötzmann on. This was followed by projects with Achim Knispel, with its own workshop band in formations with Frank Wright, Harry Miller, Willem Breuker and Brötzmann. From the mid-1980s he worked with Fred Frith, Tony Oxley and Phil Minton. In 1989 he played in a quartet with Manfred Schoof, Jay Oliver and Brötzmann. From 1990 he also worked in a trio with Keith and Julie Driscoll, and with Ernst Ludwig Petrowsky and Barre Phillips, but also with Manfred Hering and Borah Bergman together. He currently plays with Petrovsky, Thomas Borgmann and Christoph Winckel (call home), the Trio Boom Box with Borgmann and Akira Ando and with Abdourahmane Diop. Concert tours have taken in most countries in Europe, but also in the USA, China and Siberia.

Limited edition of 300 copies.

Get additional information at The Quietus

Artist Biographies

Track Listing:


1. One For Cisco (Part 1)


1. One For Cisco (Part 2)

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
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