The Squid's Ear Magazine


Ackley, Bruce / Fred Frith / Henry Kaiser / Aram Shelton: Unexpected Twins (Relative Pitch)

Born out of Eugene Chadbourne's Twins band concepts from the 70s, which included over time saxophonist Bruce Ackley, and guitarists Henry Kaiser, and Fred Frith; fast forward to 2018 as Ackley & Frith return to the concept with Henry Kaiser and saxophonist Aram Shelton to revisit the original approach through pieces by those artists plus Steve Lacy, Eugene Chadbourne, and John Zorn.
 

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Personnel:



Aram Shelton-alto saxophone

Henry Kaiser-electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Fred Frith-electric guitar, piano

Bruce Ackley-soprano saxophone


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UPC: 5902249001266

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR1079
Squidco Product Code: 27417

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Megasonic, in Oakland,California, in November, 2016, by Jeremy Goody.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This album celebrates the 1977 band TWINS, that consisted of Bruce Ackley, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Kaiser, and John Zorn. Featuring the usual instrumentation of two reeds and two guitars, it pre-dated they New York Downtown scene that was to follow. Ackley and Kaiser wanted to re-visit the original repertoire and approach of this quartet, but found it unlikely that the original members could be reunited for such a project. Grabbing their pals Fred Frith and Aram Shelton, they entered the studio to record pieces by the original Twins, as well as Fred and Aram. To reflect the first Twins interest in its ancestors, a gorgeous Steve Lacy piece was also recorded. This album definitely captures the spirits of fun, surprise, and youthful exploration, that was manifest in the original Twins. It's been quite a while since Kaiser and Frith and preformed and recorded together and this project is also a celebration and renewal of their musical partnership that began over 40 years ago, back in the days of the original Twins."-Relative Pitch



Born out of Eugene Chadbourne's Twins band concepts from the 70s, which included over time saxophonist Bruce Ackley, and guitarists Henry Kaiser, and Fred Frith; fast forward to 2018 as Ackley & Frith return to the concept with Henry Kaiser and saxophonist Aram Shelton to revisit the original approach through pieces by those artists plus Steve Lacy, Eugene Chadbourne, and John Zorn. The instrumentation is similar but the results are informed by decades of experience, resulting in a fantastic album of interactive improvisation.



"The music herein revisits a particular moment in the development of free improvised music in North America, when young musicians who were just finding their voices around the US and Canada were beginning to connect with one another. The central figure in this was Eugene Chadbourne, an American guitarist living in Calgary, Alberta (the family had moved to Canada to ensure that their sons would not be sent to Vietnam). Eugene made two superb solo guitar records while still in his early 20s, and not only began finding places to play across Canada but got in touch with like-minded Americans from different parts of the country, either by meeting them on the road or being introduced via recordings. By 1976 Chadbourne had hooked up with Henry Kaiser and Owen Maercks in Worcester, Massachusetts, and with them recorded one side of a record he released as Guitar Trios. (Kaiser and Maercks, both San Francisco Bay Area natives, were touring the east coast at the time. The other side of Guitar Trios was recorded in Calgary, with the present writer and Randy Hutton.) On another trip, Eugene met Bruce Ackley the same way everyone met Bruce in those days, by wondering into Aquarius Records on Castro St. in San Francisco.In 1977 Chadbourne moved to New York, and quickly made the acquaintance of many musicians who were established there, as well as some who lived in the Apple but weren't established yet, like John Zorn. It was Eugene who began telling everyone about John, and by late 1977 the two travelled from NY to play some gigs with Henry and Bruce in the quartet called "Twins." They also recorded together, and in fact the Twins version of "Lacrosse" was the first date Zorn ever led in a recording studio. It appeared on Eugene's Parachute label, along with a version of the piece recorded in NY the next year, which also featured two Alabama-based musicians Chadbourne had pulled into his and John's orbit, Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith. In SF, Twins also recorded a version of another of John's game pieces, "Curling," but this was lost in the mail (OUCH!).

Back to San Francisco in 1977 - just about the same time that the Twins band was gigging around the Bay Area, Bruce Ackley joined forces with Jon Raskin, Larry Ochs, and Andrew Voigt to create a much longer-lived group, the ROVA saxophone quartet. And Henry Kaiser, along with Larry Ochs and pianist Greg Goodman, formed Metalanguage records. Fred Frith, who had of course already made his reputation as a formidable British avant-rocker and free improviser, moved to New York in 1979 and was immediately immersed in the Downtown scene, but also began a long association with Henry, which was first documented on the Melalanguage LP With Friends Like This.

The Twins group was just one of the many associations that figured in the development of the new music and of the people involved with it, but even though all the members have found occasion to work with one another in various ways over the 4 decades since that first encounter, it has never been practical to reunite the group. Finally Henry and Bruce decided to return to the studio with an un-identical version of Twins that featured the identical instrumentation; to revisit the general approach and some of the repertoire of the original group. The results are fantastic, as you, dear listener, are discovering for yourself."-Duck Baker



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"Aram Shelton is an improviser and composer who performs on saxophone, clarinets, and live electronics. His writing and playing is grounded in avant-jazz and free improvisation and is documented through more than two dozen albums to date. He's been an integral member of the creative music communities in the Bay Area and Chicago, and has recently relocated to Copenhagen.

Shelton creates music with an aesthetic that is guided by the musicians he works with. In Oakland (2005-2016), he developed music for the avant jazz quartet Gold Age; the creative free jazz Ton Trio II; his solo electroacoustic project Tonal Masher; the chamber improv group Broken Trap Ensemble; the electroacoustic Stratic; the collaborative quartet Cylinder; his sextet Marches; and the Oakland Active Orchestra. In Chicago (1999 - 2005) he created music with his Quartet, the cooperative sextet Fast Citizens, Jason Adasiewicz' Rolldown, Dragons 1976; Arrive; the electroacoustic duo Grey Ghost, and others.

Shelton studied electroacoustic music and recording techniques at Mills College in Oakland, California. He continues to improvise and compose electroacoustic music focused on the concepts illustrated in his graduate thesis Sound Extended: Replication of Acoustic Material and Phrase Modification.

In the past Shelton has been fortunate to perform with many exceptional musicians from the Bay Area, Chicago and New York scenes including Larry Ochs, Kjell Nordeson, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Frank Rosaly, Jordan Glenn, Cory Wright, Kristina Dutton, Tim Daisy, Mark Clifford, Safa Shokrai, Britt Ciampa, Theresa Wong, Jason Adasiewicz, Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, Matt Bauder, Alex Vittum, Michael Coleman, Lisa Mezzacappa, Darren Johnston, Henry Kaiser, Kyle Bruckmann, Jon Raskin, Steve Adams, Bruce Ackley, Jacob Felix-Heule, Jacob Wick, William Winant, Mark Dresser, Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Josh Sinton, Jason Ajemian, Ken Vandermark, Audrey Chen, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, James Fei, Damon Smith, Tim Perkis, Guillermo Gregorio, and Chris Brown. He has performed in Europe, Canada and the United States including appearances at the Switchboard Music Festival, Soundwave, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, the Suoni per il Popolo Festival, and the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival. He has led workshops at the Evergreen State College, the Luzern Jazz School, through NEXMAP and at UC Santa Cruz. As a curator he founded the Active Music Series and Active Music Festival. His playing and music are available through Delmark, Clean Feed, Cuneiform, 482 Music, and his own Singlespeed Music."

-Aram Shelton Website (http://www.aramshelton.com/about.html)
11/29/2023

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

"Henry Kaiser (born September 19, 1952) is an American guitarist and composer, known as an idiosyncratic soloist, a sideman, an ethnomusicologist, and a film score composer. Recording and performing prolifically in many styles of music, Kaiser is a fixture on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene. He is considered a member of the "second generation" of American free improvisers. He is married to Canadian artist Brandy Gale.

In 1977, Kaiser founded Metalanguage Records with Larry Ochs (Rova Saxophone Quartet) and Greg Goodman. In 1979 he recorded With Friends Like These with Fred Frith, a collaboration that lasted for over 20 years. In 1983 they recorded Who Needs Enemies, and in 1987 the compilation album With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends? They joined with fellow experimental musicians John French, and English folk-rocker Richard Thompson to form French Frith Kaiser Thompson for two eclectic albums, Live, Love, Larf & Loaf (1987) and Invisible Means (1990). In 1999 Frith and Kaiser released Friends and Enemies, a compilation of their two Metalanguage albums along with additional material from 1984 and 1999.

In 1991, Kaiser went to Madagascar with guitarist David Lindley. They recorded roots music with Malagasy musicians and discovered music that, he says, "changed us radically and permanently". Three volumes of this music were released by Shanachie under the title A World Out of Time. In 1994 he made a similar trip to Norway, again with Lindley, recording music that was released as Sweet Sunny North (2 volumes, 1994 and 1996).

Since 1998, Kaiser has been collaborating with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith in the "Yo Miles!" project, releasing a series of tributes to Miles Davis's 1970s electric music. This shifting aggregation has included musicians from the worlds of rock (guitarists Nels Cline, Mike Keneally and Chris Muir, drummer Steve Smith), jazz (saxophonists Greg Osby and John Tchicai), avant-garde (keyboardist John Medeski, guitarist Elliott Sharp), and Indian classical music (tabla player Zakir Hussain).

Kaiser has appeared on more than 250 albums and scored dozens of TV shows and films, including Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World (2007). He was given a Grammy Award for his work on the Beautiful Dreamer tribute to Stephen Foster.

In 2001, Kaiser spent two and a half months in Antarctica on a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program grant. He has subsequently returned for nine more visits to work as a research diver. His underwater camera work was featured in two Herzog films, The Wild Blue Yonder (2005) and Encounters at the End of the World (2007), which he also produced, and for which he and Lindley composed the score. Kaiser served as music producer for Herzog's Grizzly Man (2005). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work as a producer on Encounters at the End of the World."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kaiser_(musician))
11/29/2023

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

"Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant.

In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.

The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.

He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.

His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow's Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague's "Music on Film, Film on Music" Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life's work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.

Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland."

-Fred Frith Website (http://www.fredfrith.com/biography.html)
11/29/2023

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

"Bruce Ackley was born in Rochester, New York in 1948. Following in his father's footsteps, he began singing in choral groups at age 10. (His father performed in a vocal sextet as a young man in the 1930s.) Bruce sang throughout his school years and finally took up the saxophone in 1970. He formed his first improvising trio that year with friends from his art school days at Wayne State in Detroit, where he studied painting and drawing. In 1971 he relocated to the Bay Area. Largely self-taught, Bruce studied saxophone briefly with Lee Hester and Noel Jewkes, and clarinet with Beth Custer and Ben Goldberg. Throughout the 1970s he was involved with the emerging free improvisation scene in San Francisco, and formed Sound Clinic with Lewis Jordan and George Sams in 1975. He began playing with Larry Ochs in 1973 and Jon Raskin in 1975, which led to the formation of Rova in the fall of 1977.

Since that time Ackley has mainly devoted his musical life to his work with Rova, with some notable side projects. In 1977 he performed and recorded with the quartet Twins, featuring John Zorn on reeds, and Eugene Chadbourne and Henry Kaiser on guitars. During the 1980s he played regularly with trombone-electronics wizard, J.A. Deane and drummer Joseph Sabella. They formed Planet X in 1992, which performed extensively in the Bay Area and made a recording at that time. Bruce has also performed with the Italian bass virtuoso, Stefano Scodanibbio. In 1996 they performed together with koto-electronics player Miya Masaoko, and the brilliant cellist, Rohan de Seram, formerly of the Arditti String Quartet. That year Ackley formed a trio to perform his more jazz-oriented original compositions, Actual Size, with George Cremaschi on bass and Garth Powell on drums. This led to the recording The Hearing by the Bruce Ackley Trio, featuring Joey Baron on Drums and Greg Cohen on bass, and released on the John Zorn-curated Japanese label Avant. During the late 1990s Bruce formed Frankenstein, a jazz repertory band that played the music of many of the forward-looking artists of the early '60s, particularly Grachan Moncur III, Andrew Hill, Eric Dolphy, and Jackie McLean-providing him an opportunity to dig into material that significantly impacted Ackley during formative years."

-Rova:Arts (http://www.rova.org/about-us/bruce-ackley.html)
11/29/2023

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


Track Listing:



1. The Shreeve 3:03

2. Bound 6:04

3. Emit Time 7:23

4. Court Music 16:15

5. This Reminds Me 6:54

6. Long Story Short 4:17

7. Curling 20:04

8. Quads 6:18

9. A Special Hell For Shreeves 5:03

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Quartet Recordings
Frith, Fred
Guitarists, &c.
Unusual Vocal Forms
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Relative Pitch.


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