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Black, Jim: Malamute (Intakt)

New York drummer Jim Black's multinational quartet, which toured Europe in 2015, is captured in the studio for an album of acoustic-electric improvisation that experiments with tunes and structures, using Elias Stemeseder's keyboards and Black's samplers in unexpected ways around strong playing from saxophonist Oskar Gudjonsson and bassist Chris Tordini.

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product information:

UPC: 7640120192839

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: ITK283.2
Squidco Product Code: 24129

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Water Music, NJ, on March 25th and 26th, 2016, and August 20th and 21st, 2016, by Gabriel Bento.


Oskar Gudjonsson-tenor saxophone

Elias Stemeseder-keyboards

Chris Tordini-electric bass

Jim Black-drums, sampler

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Artist Biographies:

"Óskar Guðjónsson

Born in 1974 and became a professional in 1991 and graduated from the Icelandic Music Association School of Music in 1997.

Óskar has over the last twenty years performed and recorded with a wide variety of Icelandic and international musicians and bands. Óskar has performed in over 350 international concerts in 40 countries in five continents. Óskar has recorded in all genres of music i.e. jazz, rock and roll, pop, classic, reggae, blues, disco and folk.

Óskar list of collaborators contains, among others Mezzoforte, Jim Black, Sören Dahl Jeppesen, Trygve Seim, Skúli Sverrisson, Sigurður Flosason, Hjálmar, Samúel Samuelsson Big Band, Stórsveit Reykjavíkur and many more.

Óskar has recorded 15 studio albums as a solo artist or as a member of a band. Óskar has also been a session performer on c.a. hundred studio albums.

Óskar was awarded the gig-master title two years in a row for the Reykjavík Jazz festivals when he performed in 22 gigs in 20 days in 2009 and 26 gigs in 15 days in 2010.

Óskar has received the Icelandic Music Awards nine times, the latest for the album ADHD with his band ADHD in 2010 as the Jazz album of the year and again in 2012 for his collaboration with Skúli Sverrisson on The Box Tree.

A former member of Icelands best known jazz band, Mezzoforte and currently active as a member of ADHD and his duo with Skúli Sverrisson.

"From my personal experience traveling and performing worldwide, I can say without a doubt that Oskar Gudjonsson and his music are the changing the way young musicians are hearing and approaching the saxophone.

Oskar's distinctive and absolutely personal sound define a new path in jazz melodicism, as well as his masterful command of harmony and expressing the full range of tonal color on the horn."

-Skuli Sverrisson / Oskar Gubjonsson Website (

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

"Elias Stemeseder: Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1990, Elias lived in Berlin from 2010 and moved to New York in 2015. Besides his main instrument, the acoustic piano, he also plays synthesizers. He performs in a variety of musical idioms ranging from the song-oriented music of Jim Black's trio to contemporary classical pieces by John Zorn to the electric music of Eyebone.

Current projects include collaborations with John Zorn (John Zorn's Bagatelles), the Greg Cohen Quintet, Philipp Gropper's "Philm", Jim Black's "Malamute" Anna Webber's "Percussive Mechanics", Robert Landfermann Quintet and "OTIS+WEDDING".

Elias Stemeseder has performed solo concerts at the Nuoro Jazz Festival (IT), Haus Der Berliner Festspiele (DE), 12points Festival Dublin (IRL) and Südtirol Jazzfestival (IT). He leads a Berlin - based quartet with Eldar Tsalikov, Igor Spallati and Ugo Alunni and co-leads the bands Jagged Spheres (with Anna Webber and Devin Gray) and Eyebone (with Nels Cline and Jim Black).

Since 2008 Elias has been working extensively with the American drummer Jim Black. The Jim Black trio (with Thomas Morgan on double bass) has released the critically acclaimed recordings Somatic and Actuality on the German label Winter&Winter Recordings and The Constant on the Swiss label Intakt Records. In 2013, Elias formed the collective trio "Eyebone" with Jim Black and guitarist Nels Cline, in which he plays the Wurlitzer piano and bass synthesizers.

Elias has received scholarships and grants from SKE/austro mechana and BKA Österreich Kunst und Kultur."

-Elias Stemeseder Website (

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

"Christopher Tordini is an in-demand bassist on the New York City music scene, where he performs with established jazz icons as well as a diverse range of emerging musicians. He has toured and recorded with Andy Milne's Dapp Theory for over 5 years, and has also played in bands led by other renowned artists such as Greg Osby and Jeremy Pelt. Tordini plays often with drummer Ari Hoenig, with the Becca Stevens Band, and is a key collaborator in projects led by drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey and trombonist/composer Michael Dessen. A graduate of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Tordini forged strong professional relationships with several faculty members there, including Rory Stuart and George Garzone, with whom he continues to collaborate. Recently, Tordini has performed and recorded with prominent bandleaders such as Steve Lehman, Okkyung Lee, Tigran Hamasyan, Jo-Yu Chen, Mike Pinto, Andrew D'Angelo, Jim Black, and Yaron Herman. He has played at New York City's most prestigious jazz venues, including the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard, Smalls, the Jazz Gallery and the Stone, among many others."

-Home Gift of Music (

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

Jim Black is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians bringing jazz into the 21st century. In addition to being one of the most influential drummers of our time, he is also the leader of one of the world's most forward-thinking bands, AlasNoAxis, featuring his longtime collaborators Chris Speed, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson. Based on the foundation of his virtuosic but highly personal approach to jazz drumming, Black's aesthetic has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes. Though he is revered worldwide for his limitless technique and futuristic concepts, what many listeners treasure in most Jim Black's work is the relentless feeling of joy and invention he brings to his performances. Jim Black's smiling, kinetic, unpredictable presence has enthralled and inspired audiences worldwide for over twenty-five years.

Since the mid-90's, Black has played a major role in the incorporation of new sounds and techniques into the jazz/creative music context. As a member of the collective group Pachora (with Speed, Sverrisson, and guitarist Brad Shepik) Black was one of the leaders in the study and adaptation of Balkan music into jazz-based music. His advanced techniques abstracted the odd time signatures of the Balkans into a new polyrhythmic language equally informed by modern jazz, drum&bass and the dumbeks of the Balkans. Black has also been an innovator in the use of electronics in improvisation, bridging the gap between electro-acoustic improv and more jazz-based traditions. Today, Black's performances are just as likely to feature his laptop-based electronic textures as his drumming.

Born in 1967, Jim Black grew up in Seattle alongside future colleagues Chris Speed, Andrew D'Angelo and Cuong Vu. After cementing their personal and artistic relationships in Seattle's various youth jazz ensembles, in 1985 they moved to Boston, where Black entered the Berklee School of Music. In Boston, Black, Speed and D'Angelo formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, which rapidly attracted the attention of the jazz cognoscenti in Boston, New York and beyond.

By 1991, Black and the other members of Human Feel had moved to New York City, where they electrified the Downtown music scene then centered around the Knitting Factory and rapidly became among the city's busiest sidemen. Black's early years in New York saw him take featured roles in some of the most critically acclaimed bands of the time, like Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Ellery Eskelin's trio, and Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Thus began fifteen years of near-constant touring and recording, with the above bands as well as artists like Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Nels Cline, Steve Coleman, Tomasz Stanko, and Laurie Anderson.

-Jim Black Website (

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

1. Almost Awake 3:56

2. Toys Everywhere 4:34

3. Dusk Scout 3:26

4. Chase Rabbit 3:57

5. Into The Pool 2:57

6. Stray 5:51

7. Just Turned Two 5:27

8. Sought After 3:45

9. Cool Doze 2:30

10. Eat Everything 4:08

11. Full Dish 5:39

12. Pugged 2:21

13. No Leash 3:44
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Malamute is Jim Black's latest gathering of like-minded musical souls. The band toured Europe for the first time in May 2015 performing sketches of the music to be, experimenting with different ways songs and structures could be recombined to reflect on each of their musical voices, distilling a band sound from their chemistry. One year later Malamute went into the studio with new compositions and arrangements recording their debut album. Based upon the idea of mix tapes and playlists, the music changes every few minutes, a sort of "short attention span" approach to improvisation and composition that keeps the listener engaged."-Intakt

"Jim Black's approach to his drums could be compared to a lit match being dropped on a pile of dry papers. The whole kit ignites, shooting sparks and flames in all directions. But instead of engulfing its surroundings, Black's attack always supports and even elevates his fellow musicians. Following last year's piano-trio outing The Constant, the drummer assembled Malamute as a more electric outing, with 13 tracks, all six minutes and under, that straddle the line between frenzy and tranquility.

The group came to be as a way for Black to play with Icelandic tenor saxophonist Óskar Guđjónsson. Elias Stemeseder, who played acoustic piano on The Constant, returns on electric keyboards. Chris Tordini, better known as an upright bassist, switches to electric bass for the session. Throughout the album, an alluring contrast is created where Black's propulsive drumming and Stemeseder's wild keys create a rollicking bed for Guđjónsson's relaxed, warm tenor tone. With Tordini holding it all together, the proceedings often sound like Stan Getz dropping by a Soft Machine session.

Black's writing covers a wide swath of musical colors as well, exploiting his bandmates' incongruities for the greater good. Melodies often morph and reshape within a four-minute framework. "Just Turned Two" starts with a keyboard blast that evokes shortwave radio static, followed by Tordini frantically strumming a bass part that threatens to turn the song into droning pop. "Sought After" almost sounds like postmodern noir, with double-stop basslines and Guđjónsson's slinky tone finally building up to a raucous climax. But as on most of the tracks, it's Black and Stemeseder who collapse, while the tenor burns slowly."-Mike Shanley, JazzTimes

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Related Categories of Interest:

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

Search for other titles on the label:

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